How many Swedish astronauts have there been so far? There is Christer Fuglesang, who became known as the Swede in space. Jessica Ulrika Meir, who also has Swedish citizenship, enjoys far less popularity. She was the first woman and Swedish astronaut to fly to the ISS in a Soyuz MS-2019 in 15.
After Fuglesang and Meir, it is Marcus Wandt who will set off for the ISS. Wandt is a Saab employee and is used to great heights and rapid speeds. Because he is the chief pilot of the Saab Gripen program.
Wandt has been a member of the astronaut reserve of the European Space Agency ESA (Link). Saab AB is Sweden's largest supporter of the space program, and the company has been funding research and development projects for years.
Now Marcus Wandt, chief and test pilot of the Saab Gripen program, has been chosen to be the next Swede to fly to the International Space Station.
"It feels amazing and I'm very proud to be the next Swedish astronaut in space. As a Gripen pilot at Saab, I'm used to flying at very high speeds and pushing my limits. I look forward to bringing these experiences into space," Wandt said after the announcement.
For Wandt it is another step in his career, for Saab it is an invaluable image gain.
"We are very happy for Marcus and of course very proud that a Saab employee will be the next Swede in space." It shows our ability to attract talented employees to Saab. "This is important for Swedish industry and Swedish innovation," says Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab AB.
The question still remains as to whether Wandt, as Fuglesang's successor, not only flies a Saab for business, but also drives a Saab?
Fuglesang was on the road for many years with a Saab 9000 CC, not a turbo, but a 9000i. He accompanied the astronauts in Switzerland while he was working in Russia (Link) and came back to Sweden before parting ways after more than 300.000 kilometers together.
With images from Saab AB