Insa Thiele-Eich


Insa Thiele-Eich
2018-06-24 Insa Thiele-Eich-9955.jpg
Born (1983-04-21) 21 April 1983 (age 38)
Nationality Germany
OccupationMeteorologist, Astronaut Candidate
Space career
Die Astronautin Astronaut
Selection2016 Die Astronautin Selection

Insa Thiele-Eich is a German Meteorologist and Astronaut candidate, selected by the German non-government Die Astronautin project in April 2017. She was one of two women selected to be the first German woman in space, the end goal of the Die Astronautin initiative.

Early life and education

Thiele-Eich was born on 21 April 1983 in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Her father is European Space Agency astronaut Gerhard Thiele, who flew as Mission Specialist aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour's STS-99 mission in 2000. Later in her life she went on to study Meteorology at the University of Bonn in the North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. She later earned her PhD with a thesis on the effects of Climate change on Bangladesh.[1]


Following her PhD, she returned to her alma mater, the University of Bonn, to work as scientific coordinator at the University meteorological institute. She conducted research in weather and climate prediction models and into the meteorological exchange process, her research interests include the impact of climate and weather on human health, the impacts of climate change on specific countries and global hydrometeorology and extreme value analysis.[2][3]

Die Astronautin

In March 2016 the German non-government initiative, Die Astronautin was founded with the goal of sending the first German woman into space. They put out a call for German woman to apply and received over 400 applications, including Thiele-Eich. By March 2017 Thiele-Eich was included in the group of six finalists for the project.[4] Within a month Die Astronautin officially announced that Thiele-Eich was one of the two women selected, alongside fighter pilot Nicola Baumann (who later pulled out of the program and was replaced by Dr Suzanna Randall, another one of the original six finalists), the two began training in Star City, Russia in August 2017.[5][6]

She took time off from training for the project in 2018 for maternity leave and returned to training in early 2019.[7] Currently, the flight plan calls for the flight to happen sometime in the early 2020s, one of the two women will be selected to fly the mission with the other serving as her backup, which one will take which seat is not clear yet.


  1. ^ Gewin, Virginia (18 April 2018). "Space pioneer". Nature. 556 (7701): 399. Bibcode:2018Natur.556..399G. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-04603-5. PMID 29666500.
  2. ^ "Insa Thiele-Eich — Geowissenschaften Bonn".
  3. ^ "Dr. Insa Thiele-Eich".
  4. ^ "The six finalists". March 2017.
  5. ^ "The astronauts: Two female candidates made it through the selection process". Die Astronautin. 19 April 2017.
  6. ^ "German astronaut trainees complete first parabolic flights". 16 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Astronautin and AXIOM sign Memorandum of Understanding for Astronaut Training and Mission to ISS". 2 October 2018.