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Nicola Winter

In November 2022, she was selected as a member of the ESA astronaut reserve… but this is just the apex of an already incredible career! As a pilot she has accumulated more than 2350 flying hours and holds commercial pilot, military pilot, helicopter and aerobatic licenses, is a certified flight instructor and trained in hang-gliding. 

SpaceInfo had the huge pleasure to interview Nicola Winter, here are some questions we asked her, if you want read the full article just log in your Member Account.

When did you decided you wanted to be an astronaut and what was the event or the person that made you think about being an astronaut? 

Ever since I was a kid, I loved Star Trek and its pioneering spirit – to go where no one has gone before. That’s exactly what I want to do. Then I became a fighter pilot at Sheppard AFB in Texas, USA. They have an alumni hall of fame there. Every day I walked by a bunch of Astronauts who had been on the exact same path, I was on. That was when I decided to go for it for real. 

When did you decided to turn your dream into a real goal?

Well, unfortunately, you can’t just decide to become an astronaut. You have to wait for a selection. My first chance appeared in 2017, with a private initiative in Germany looking for the first German female astronaut. Due to funds, that didn’t happen. My next shot came in 2021/2022 with ESA, where I decided very easily to of course, try again! 

From our followers: which is your favorite movie?

Not a movie, but I love and very much recommend “For all Mankind”- best astronaut series in a long time! 

Which is the most dangerous event that occurred to you when piloting?

Very, very nearly colliding with another aircraft. But it is not uncommon, that you need some luck to survive a career as a fighter pilot. 

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Pictures displayed here (4) are all courtesy of Nicola Winter.


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