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Events - Excursions

6 young engineers from Leipzig are at the forefront as NASA VIPs for the launch of Artemis 1

photos Cosmas blog  Rovernauts Launchreports  Raumfahrt Concret  Werner-Heisenberg-School  


It is a promise made by Prof. Dr. von Puttkamer from Leipzig that has been kept 10 years after his death. When the Space Education Institute was first founded in Leipzig in 2005, he said: "If you stay involved with it, space will be open to you, and you will be right at the very front during the launch back to the moon". This was the same year that the first Space Shuttle had been launched again after the Columbia disaster. The professor was working on future long-term programs along with private participation, which are now coming to fruition. The couple, Yvonne and Ralf Heckel from Leipzig, were selected by him and invited to the first "Return to Flight" launch of the "Discovery" with the words: "Don't leave me hanging now. You are sitting next to the astronauts' families in the first row". But it took 2 flights to Florida and several launch attempts before the spacecraft finally took off.

Now 17 years have passed and, since then, a school for young engineers with an environment-friendly campus with the name "Puttkamer" has been established in Leipzig,  where Yvonne and Ralf have guided international pupils and students through the world of space travel on countless occasions. Here, 44 NASA rovers have been built by young engineers and three world championship titles were won at competitions. Leipzig has become a prestigious location for young international spaceflight talents. No one is closer: numerous pilots, space engineers and aspiring astronauts have begun their careers here. Additionally, the proportion of girls is even higher than that of boys.


Currently, the next giant moon rocket, named "Artemis 1", is standing on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, its height even surpassing that of Leipzig's 33-story business tower. The invitation for the team from Leipzig came directly from NASA headquarters and Professor von Puttkamer's work colleagues. Naturally, Yvonne and Ralf have been invited, as well as the current NASA rover of the 15-year-old experienced pilot, Cosma. Cosma is a member of the Youth Council of the US General Consulate in Leipzig. Her team, consisting of 8 to 17-year-old young inventors, represents not only Germany and the Free State of Saxony, but also the Jesco von Puttkamer School, Leipzig's Humbold Gymnasium, the Werner Heisenberg School, the Quartiersschule Ihmelsstraße and the 74th Primary School of Leipzig.

In addition, Yvonne and Ralf are leading 20 other international pupils and students to the VIP area at Banana Creek.They all come from the fellow educational institutions TEC Monterrey Campus Cuernavaca, UNAQ, Mc Kinley high school and TecMantra (USA, Mexico, India). Among them is aspiring astronaut Jasleen Kaur and Tesla-engeneer Valeria Vazquez Zafra. Banana Creek is a lagoon merely 3 kilometers away from the launch site and it is exclusive for NASA's closest advisors and family members.

Artemis 1 consists of the new heavy-lift rocket SLS (a symbiosis of the Apollo moon rocket Saturn V and Space Shuttle) and the Orion space capsule, large enough for a crew of 6 people. First, there will be an unmanned test flight around the moon and a re-entering of the Earth's atmosphere at 32 times the speed of sound. Earthquake sensors around the world will be able to register the launch and the fly-over. 

Three launch windows are planned for the 29.8., 2.9. and 5.9.2022. This rocket will be the most complicated machine to ever lift off from the ground. Hence, it is not yet clear whether the computer will interrupt the countdown. The first launch of the Space Shuttle took 2 years. Artemis 1 also has 5 different time windows between September and December 2022.

All participants will be writing a blog which will be updated daily on and their Facebook fan page. On 25 August, the plane will take off with these "transatlantic ambassadors of the future".






Yvonne Heckel (47) Managing Director International Space Education Institute
Ralf Heckel (53) Head of the International Space Education Institute
Arthur Sommer (17) Copilot Rovernauts, Basketball player, Heisenberg High School
Cosma (15) Pilot Rovernauts, CAD designer, Humbold Gymnasium
Tara (13) Social Media, soccer player Ihmelstraße secondary school
Jesco (8) Tinkerer, CAD designer, trike rider, 74th elementary school

International NASA-VIP-guests, hosted by International Space Education Institute for Artemis 1 launch-viewing & tour:

Kenneth Lesley, McKinley Highschool Washington DC, USA
David Garcia Suarez, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Mexico
Daniela Espinosa Biosca, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Cuba
Ian Doring Romo, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Mexico
Jorge Emiliano Turner Escalante, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Mexico
Sebastián Cruz Espinosa de los Monteros, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Mexico
Jorge Abraham Vega Méndez, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Mexico
Valeria Vazquez Zafra, Tesla, California
Alina Sandra Santander Vinokurova, Team Bolivia
Navdeep Singh Singh, TecMantra Global, India
Navpreet Kaur Kaur, TecMantra Global, India
Sarvik Singh Josan, TecMantra Global, India
Ashmeet Singh Singh, TecMantra Global, India
Hari Sundar Bhujel, STEM-Society Nepal

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