AUSTROMIR SPACE MISSION, FEATURING A MULTITUDE OF SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS ON THE SPACE STATION MIR, LAUNCHED ON OCTOBER 2, 1991 FROM THE BAIKONUR COSMODROME. ON BOARD THE ROCKET SOYUZ TM-13 WAS THE FIRST AUSTRIAN COSMONAUT
Newspaper announcement of a possible Austrian flight to the space station
Franz Viehböck worked as an Assistant Professor at the Vienna Technical University when a newspaper announcement of a possible Austrian flight to the space station “Mir” caught his attention. Sending an application meant not only an adventure but also a challenge that could shape his future in an unexpected way. He knew, two years training in Star City near Moscow would test his mental and physical limits, but first he had to be elected as one of the best, between many ambitious, competitive young people.
After exhausting selections, he and Clemens Lothaler were chosen as candidates for the joint Austrian-Soviet Mission in space. From now on, Franz Viehböck concentrated enormous energy, completing one test after another, all with outstanding results.
Although he was selected five month prior to the launch as a member of the first team, it was uncertain until the day before the start, who of the two trained Austrians would fly into space. Finally, on Octobre 2nd 1991, it was Franz Viehböck who boarded the cockpit of the Soyus Rocket.
The successful launch wasn’t only the start of an unforgettable space adventure but also the beginning of new challenges and opening of new horizons in his professional and private life. The rewards of seeing the beauty of our planet from a different perspective and feeling the excitement of weightlessness overshadowed the exhaustion of hard working schedule in the space station.
The return to Earth with the landing on solid ground was followed by an unexpected popularity and public interest throughout the country.
For the next two years, he toured through Austria and several other countries sharing his stories and impressions with countless audiences: children, students, general public, scientific and corporate organizations.
In early 1994 he entered the world of American aerospace industry where he stayed for the following eight years.
Member of Association of Innovative Electronic Engineers of Lower Austria