Biographies of the ESA Reserve Astronauts




Nicola Winter

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Personal data

Birthdate:  10.03.1985
Birthplace:  Munich
Marital status:  married
Selection date:  23.11.2022
Position:  MSP
Status:  active

Additional information

Born as Nicola Fischer; after marriage her name was Baumann.
Nicola graduated from the Rainer-Maria-Rilke Gymnasium in Icking, Germany, in 2004. She then joined the German Air Force. While on active duty, she studied Mechanical Engineering at AKAD University and completed her bachelor’s degree in 2015 with the mention “very good”.
Between 2016 and 2020, Nicola studied Aero- and Astrospace engineering at Purdue University, Indiana, USA, majoring in Aerospace applications, aerodynamics and propulsion as a distance student.
During this time, she also successfully graduated from the General Staff Officer School of the Armed Forces in Hamburg, Germany, with mention “exceptionally qualified” for the General Staff officer Course in 2016 and achieved her paramedics certification in 2018.
From 2021, Nicola was a Ph.D. candidate in space science at the University of North Dakota, USA, focusing her work on space mission design, life support system and astrobiology.
In 2004, Nicola joined the German Air Force and graduated as “Best Cadet of the Flying Services” form the Air Force academy. She attended the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training programme at Sheppard Air Force Base in the United States and qualified as Germany’s second female fighter pilot in 2007. After that she became a Tornado pilot with the German Air Force at Lagerlechfeld, Germany, by 2011. During this time, she also took part in various military survival courses (sea survival, land survival and evasion).
In 2011, she graduated top of class from T-6 II pilot instructor training at the United States Air Force at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, USA.
Between 2011 and 2014 she held positions as flight commander, check pilot and instructor in instructor pilot training, and was rewarded “Flight Commander of the Year 2012” for all of Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training programme.
In 2015, she graduated from Eurofighter Weapon System Training with the German Air Force in Laage, Germany, followed by her service for the German Red Cross in Cologne, Germany, providing emergency medical aid as part of emergency services from 2018 to 2020.
From 2018, Nicola was working as a keynote speaker and Leadership and Risk Management trainer in Munich, Germany.
In total, she has accumulated more than 2350 flying hours and holds commercial pilot, military pilot, helicopter and aerobatic licenses, is a certified flight instructor and trained in hang-gliding.
Nicola completed a solo bicycle crossing of the alps in 2018 and climbed Mt. Kenya in Kenya, Africa, at 5199 Meters in 2009. She is part of the German Association of Skiing Instructors and a certified Open Water Diver.
In 2021, Nicola joined the German Aerospace Center DLR as a space researcher and is active in the field of Responsive Space and Air-Launch.
For the first time, ESA has established a reserve pool of astronauts. This reserve list is composed of astronaut candidates who were successful throughout the entire selection process but cannot be recruited at this point in time. Astronauts in the reserve remain with their current employers and will receive a consultancy contract and basic support. They will start basic training in case a flight opportunity has been identified.
© European Space Agency


Last update on December 26, 2022.