By By Maike Daumann, German air force
/ Published August 28, 2006
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Born May 23, 1958, in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, Thomas Reiter is married and has two sons. He enjoys fencing, badminton, cooking and playing the guitar. Reiter has a Master's Degree in aerospace technology. He graduated from Goethe-High School in Neu-Isenburg in June 1977, from the Armed Forces University in Neubiberg in December 1982 and from the Empire Test Pilots School in Boscombe Down, England, in December 1992.
After completion of military jet training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Reiter flew the Alpha-Jet in a fighter-bomber squadron based in Oldenburg, Germany. He was involved in the development of computerized mission planning systems and became a flight-operations officer and deputy squadron commander. After completing the test-pilot training Class 2 at the German flight test center in Manching during 1990, Reiter was involved in several flight test projects and conversion training on the Tornado the following year. Reiter attended the Class 1 test pilot training at ETPS, Boscombe Down, in 1992. His flight experience includes more than 2,300 hours in military combat jet aircraft of more than 15 types.
Reiter was also involved in European Space Agency studies of a manned space vehicle (Hermes) and development of equipment for the Columbus module, one of Europe's main contributions to the International Space Station.
In 1992, he was selected to join ESA's Astronaut Corps, based at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany. After completing basic training, Reiter was selected for the Euromir 95 mission and started training at TsPK (Cosmonauts Training Center) in Star City near Moscow in August 1993, preparing for on-board engineer tasks, extravehicular activities and operations of the Soyuz transportation system. The Euromir 95 experiment training was organized and mainly carried out at the EAC.
In March 1995 he was assigned on-board engineer for the Euromir 95 mission, a record-breaking 179 days on ESA's Euromir 95 mission (September 3, 1995 to February 29, 1996) with two spacewalks (EVAs).
Between October 1996 and July 1997, Reiter underwent training on Soyuz-TM spacecraft operations for de-docking, atmospheric re-entry and landing. He was awarded the Russian 'Soyuz Return Commander' certificate, which qualifies him to command a three-person Soyuz capsule during its return from space.
Furthermore, he performed collateral duties in the European Robotic Arm team of ESA, which is developing the European Robotic Arm and its ground-based test and mission control equipment.
From September 1997 to March 1999, Reiter was detached to the German Air Force Fighter Bomber Wing 38 "Friesland" at Jever AB, Germany as Operational Group Commander of a Tornado fighter bomber wing. There he met Colonel Manfred Molitor who was assigned as Vice Commander from 1995 to 1998. In that time they worked together and became friends.
After his return to ESA he gave support to the ATV team and the ERA program. He continued training at the Russian Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City from June 1999 until March 2000 for the Russian segments of the International Space Station.
On April 1, 1999 he resumed his activities at the European Astronaut Center, Cologne, Germany. In April 2001 he was assigned to the first ISS advanced training class to prepare for one of the first European long-term flights on-board ISS.
In September 2004, Reiter was assigned to a long duration mission to the International Space Station. He flew aboard Discovery on Space Shuttle mission STS-121 launching July 4, 2006 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and docking with the International Space Station on July 6, 2006. He will return to Earth aboard Shuttle mission STS-116 or a Russian Soyuz.