Frank is a former associate professor in Physics, a current associate professor in Economics, a former bass- and keyboard player in a rock band and a current home-player-songwriter, has written & produced 8 theatre plays, gives talks about Star Wars, Economics & Visual Story-telling and really liked his fries with peanut sauce.

Why #DearMoon

The #DearMoon mission fascinates me for many reasons, but first and foremost because it represents a fresh and new approach to what it means to engage in Space Exploration. In human history so far, in-person space exploration has been the field of pilots, engineers and scientists for a few decades. Mostly men, mostly white.

But the space-exploration with the heart, mind and eye has been the field of authors, poets, painters, philosophers, theologians, and scientists but equally of dreamers, young and old, men and women, trained and untrained, people with resources and those with mere eyes to see and/or a mind to imagine. In my view the #DearMoon mission is the first in-person space-exploration that tries to bridge that gap.

To apply to be part of that is something I could not resist doing. I have applied for astronaut positions before, but never has felt one as a better match for me that this one. But that is not the only reason to apply and to report about my experiences here.

The other reason is because as a teacher I always recommend my students to give it a shot when they see an opportunity that really strikes a heart chord and not to worry to much about their chances of success. I think teachers should always put their careers where their mouths are. It is as much about trying as it is about achieving.

Past Astronaut applications

ESA Astronaut selection round 2008
Yes, I tried before. In 2008 I applied to one of the 4 places for a new batch of ESA astronauts.

I passed the JAR Class 2 flight-medical initial requirements in May 2008 after a full-day’s medical examination a 48 hours after the passing away of my dear sister. Initially I thought of abandoning it and focussing on my family instead. But I know she would have wanted me to continue and so did my brother-in-law. When my ECG showed a slightly elevated heart-rate and I disclosed my situation the surgeon nodded and muttered: “that fits”.

I knew back then I was slightly above the ESA’s preferred age-range and my cv did not muster the piloting experience they were also looking for. So, I wasn’t surprised that one or two rounds later it was “exit” for me. I am happy I tried and I know my sister would have been too.