Ulf MerboldUlf Dietrich Merbold was the first West German and second German astronaut.
Born June 20, 1941 in Greiz, Germany - by chance just 40 kilometers from where the first German in space Sigmund Jähn was born. After he finished school in 1960 he left East Germany and settled over to West Germany. He studied physics at the University of Stuttgart, earning a diploma in 1968 and doctorate in 1976. He then joined the Max-Planck-Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart and worked on solid state physics and low temperature physics.
In 1978 ESA did select him together with Wubbo Ockels and Claude Nicollier to train for payload specialist on the first flight of the Spacelab module. In 1982 he was selected to be the prime payload specialist, and in 1983 he did fly on board of Columbia on the STS-9 mission.
1986 he transferred to the European Space Technology Center (ESTEC) to work on the european Columbus module for the International Space Station, in 1986 he also became Head of the Astronaut Office of the german spaceflight organization DLR.
1988 NASA did nominate Ulf Merbold to be payload specialist on the IML-1 mission, which did launch on STS-42 in January 1992. The next year he was Science Coordinator for the second german spacelab mission D-2 (STS-55).
In 1993 he also started training to fly the first of two joint european-russian mission to the space station Mir called Euromir 95. In 1994 on board of Soyuz TM-20 he was the first ESA astronaut to fly into space with Russia. During his 3 spaceflights he spend 49 days 21 hours 38 minutes in space.
Ulf Merbold is still working for ESA in the Microgravity Promotion Division of the ESA Directorate of Manned Spaceflight and Microgravity at ESTEC, but he is no longer member of the european astronaut team.