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Furrer, Reinhard Alfred
Credit: www.spacefacts.de
Austrian physicist payload specialist astronaut 1982-1985. Died in an airplane crash.

Status: Deceased; Active 1982-1985. Born: 1940-11-25. Died: 1995-09-19. Spaceflights: 1 . Total time in space: 7.03 days. Birth Place: Woergl.

Educated Free University Berlin.

Official NASA Biography as of June 2016:Reinhard Furrer (Ph.D.)
Payload Specialist (Deceased)

PERSONAL DATA: Born November 25, 1940, in Worgl, Germany. Single. He was a commercial pilot and held all sailing licences. He enjoyed open water dives and photographic exhibitions. Dr. Furrer died in an airplane accident on September 9, 1995.

EDUCATION: Realgymnasium at Kempten, Allgau. Studied physics at the Universities of Kiel and Berlin. Received a diploma in physics in 1969, and a doctor of philosophy degree in physics in 1972.

PROFESSION: University Teacher, Free University Berlin; and Scientist Astronaut at the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DFVLR).

ORGANIZATIONS: Member of the German Physics Society.

PUBLICATIONS: Published about 50 papers in international journals and international conferences.


  • 1974, Sabbatical at the University of Stuttgart. Research Associate, Free University of Berlin.
  • 1979, Assistant professor of Physics
  • 1980-1981, Visiting Scientist of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, USA.
  • 1983, Scientist Astronaut of the German Spacelab Mission "D-1".
  • Practical research in the following fields: Atomic physics (highly ionized noble gasses), solid-state physics (single crystals of inorganic and organic materials), chemical physics and photophysics (solid-state photoreactions, photosynthesis), and biophysics (structural analysis of enzymes)
  • Applied experimental methods: Optical spectroscopy, laser spectroscopy, HF-spectroscopy, Optically detected magnetic resonances, electron-spin-echoes, and transient electron spin mutations.
  • Teaching experience: Lectured in experimental physics and supervised undergraduate and graduate students. Public lecture series "The Arthur Compton Lectures" at the University of Chicago.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: Dr. Furrer flew as a payload specialist on the crew of STS-61A Challenger (October 30 to November 6, 1985). STS-61A was the West German D-1 Spacelab mission. It was the first to carry eight crew members, the largest to fly in space, and was also the first in which payload activities were controlled from outside the United States. More than 75 scientific experiments were completed in the areas of physiological sciences, materials science, biology, and navigation. At mission conclusion Dr. Furrer had traveled 2.5 million miles in 110 Earth orbits and had logged over 168 hours in space.


This is the only version available from NASA.

Official Biography

NAME: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Furrer

DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH: November 25, 1940 in Woergl, Austria


EDUCATION:Realgymnasim (High School) in Kempten. Diploma in Physics after studying at universities in Kiel and Berlin in 1969. Doctorate in Physics, Free University of Berlin, 1972.

EXPERIENCE: Research Associate at the Institute of Atomic and Solid State Physics of the Free University of Berlin. Group leader in the research project "Hyperfine Interaction" (SFB 161). From 1974 Assistant Professor of Physics.

In 1981 chosen as astronaut for a German-sponsored Spacelab mission. Flew on October 30 - November 6, 1985, as a member of the astronaut crew of the German Spacelab Mission D1. From 1987 Professor and Managing Director of the Institute of Space Science at the Free University of Berlin. From 1987 also Director of the Berlin Space Institute (WIB Weltraum-Institut Berlin GmbH) and SpaceTech GmbH.

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH: Atomic Physics (highly ionised noble gases), solid-state Physics (ionic single crystals and organic crystals). Chemical Physics and Photo-physics (solid-state photo reactions, photo-synthesis), Biophysics (structural analysis of enzymes), microgravity effects in the fields of Physics, Biology and Medicine. Development and conception of space experiments.

DEATH: Professor Furrer died in an airplane crash on September 9, 1995.

More at: Furrer.

Family: Payload Specialist Astronaut. Country: Austria. Flights: STS-61-A. Projects: STS. Bibliography: 5411.

1940 November 25 - .
  • Birth of Dr Reinhard Alfred Furrer - . Nation: Austria. Related Persons: Furrer. Austrian physicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-61-A..

1985 October 30 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. Launch Platform: MLP1. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle.
  • STS-61-A - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Bluford, Buchli, Dunbar, Furrer, Hartsfield, Messerschmid, Nagel, Ockels. Payload: Challenger F09 / GLOMR 1. Mass: 14,451 kg (31,859 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bluford, Buchli, Dunbar, Furrer, Hartsfield, Messerschmid, Nagel, Ockels. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-61-A. Spacecraft Bus: Shuttle. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 7.03 days. Decay Date: 1985-11-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 16230 . COSPAR: 1985-104A. Apogee: 331 km (205 mi). Perigee: 319 km (198 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 91.00 min.

    Manned eight crew. Launched GLOMR; carried Spacelab D1. Payloads: Spacelab D-1 with habitable module and 76 experiments. Six of the eight crew members were divided into a blue and red team working 12-hour shifts for 24-hour-a-day operation. The remaining two crew members were 'switch hitters.'.

1985 November 6 - .
1995 September 19 - .
  • Astronaut Dr Reinhard Alfred Furrer dies at age of 54 -- Airplane crash. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Furrer. Austrian physicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-61-A..

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