The first Austrian in space

Based on the positive experiences during the intense bilateral collaboration gained over almost two decades of space reserch, the Soviet Chairman of the Council of Ministers, during his official visit to Austria in July 1987, extended an invitation for an Austrian cosmonaut to perform Austrian scientific experiments for a period of one week onboard the Soviet (Russian) space station MIR. The Austrian government accepted the offer in March 1998, and after intensive negotiations an official contract was signed in October 1988. This was followed by a detailed working agreement between Licensintorg, representing Glavkosmos, and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research in November 1988.

In spring 1988 a public announcement of flight opportunity for payloads was issued opening a new field to Austrian research activities in space. From the 34 proposals received, a total of 15 scientific experiments were selected by a joint Austro-Soviet committee, nine from the field of space medicine, one from physiology-signal processing, two from physics/material sciences, one from remote sensing, one mission support and one amateur radio project. Additionally, one project in multimedia art was designated.

Out of 198 applications for cosmonauts, after a thourough investigation by medical and physchological experts, seven candidates were selected an finally two were nominated to start training at Star City near Moscow, namely Franz Viehböck and Clemens Lothaller.

The flight of the Austrian cosmonaut Franz Viehböck, who had been finally selected, to the MIR station with his two fellow cosmonauts Alexandr A. Volkov (Russia) and Toktar O. Aubakirov (Kazakhstan) took place on October 2 and lasted until October 10, 1991.

Franz Viehböck, born on 24 August 1960 in Vienna:

Engineer for electro-technics; doctoral level; university assistant for measurement; later assistant professor at the University of Vienna;
then worked for Rockwell International;
from 1997- 1999 Director of International Programs for Boeing North American Inc., in the Space Systems Division, in Downey, California, USA;
from 1999 to 2002 he worked for the Boeing International Corp. in Vienna;
Franz Viehböck is currently Director of Berndorf Band in Austria.