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Aerospace Engineering Programme Headed by First Swedish Astronaut

Published Jan 15, 2013

Christer Fuglesang, the first Swede in space, will head the Aerospace Engineering master’s programme at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, beginning in April.

The former European Space Agency astronaut, who holds a master’s degree from the same programme that he will soon direct, flew two NASA missions, in 2006 and 2008. He received his master of science degree in Engineering Physics from KTH in 1981.

At the university, Fuglesang will conduct his own research and work with the marketing of space science and technology, says KTH President Peter Gudmundson.

“Christer Fuglesang will take a leading role in KTH's space activities,” Gudmundson says.

Fuglesang says that his research will include radiation on space stations, as well as particle physics. “I look forward to coming back to my alma mater and working with things that are close to my heart, such as research and space operations.”

Christer Fuglesang, ESA, Astronaut, first Swedish citizen in space
Christer Fuglesang (Photo: Jeanette Lundbeck)

He will also develop and teach a new course, “Human Spaceflight,” which examines issues around manned space flight, spacecraft design, current field research and the future of space travel. “The course will place these in a societal context,” Fuglesang says.

The 55-year-old Stockholm native entered the history books as the first Swedish citizen in space on December 10, 2006, while serving as mission specialist on a flight to the International Space Station aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. He boarded Discovery once again in 2008 to return to the Space Station. Fuglesang made a total of five spacewalks with NASA.

A member of the European Astronaut Corps since 1992, Fuglesang served as prime Crew Interface Coordinator (CIC) on the Euromir 95 mission in 1996, as part of an ESA-Russian collaboration on the Mir space station. Fuglesang has a doctorate in experimental particle physics from Stockholm University (1987), and was appointed associate professor (docent) of particle physics at Stockholm University in 1991. Since 2010, he has served as Head of Science and Application Division within the Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations at ESTEC, Netherlands.

Gudmundson says that Fuglesang will play an important role also in terms of recruiting students to KTH, foster interest in technology among young people and strengthen KTH's brand.

The former astronaut will also work on the Swedish National Space board. “Christer Fuglesang’s unique experience arouses curiosity, and he will play an important role in efforts to promote interest in science and space operations, says Olle Norberg, Director General of the Swedish National Space Board.

For more information, contact Peter Gudmundson at 08 - 790 70 01 or