Matthias Maurer was born in St Wendel (Saarland), Germany, on 18 March 1970. His favourite activities are travelling, photography, reading, politics and learning foreign languages. He also enjoys sports, especially cycling and hiking.
Matthias graduated from the Gymnasium Wendalinum in St Wendel in 1989. He studied materials science and technology at: Saarland University, Germany; University of Leeds, UK; The European School for Materials Technology in Nancy, France; UPC Barcelona, Spain.
In 1996 Matthias received an engineering diploma in materials technology from the European School for Materials Technology in Nancy and two more engineering diplomas in materials science and in materials technology in 1998 from Saarland University, Germany. He later complemented these diplomas with a master’s degree in economics for engineers from the Open University in Hagen, Germany, in 2006.
In 2004 Matthias graduated with a doctorate in materials science engineering at the Institute of Materials Sciences of the Technical University of Aachen, Germany. His dissertation on “Lightweight composites made of aluminium foam with thermally-sprayed coatings” was awarded the highest mark “with distinction”, earning several national awards for outstanding research in materials science in 2004 and 2005. Matthias is the holder of more than 10 patent applications, with half being international registrations.
During his undergraduate studies, Matthias served as a paramedic at the Malteser emergency services. At university he participated in international scientific collaborations and scholarships, giving him extensive international and cross-cultural experience in France, Spain, the UK, Argentina and South Korea.
As a student, Matthias worked as a junior scientist and contributed to research on intermetallic materials for high-temperature applications at Saarland University, Germany, as well as helping to establish an EU-funded cooperation between his German and Argentinian universities in the field of materials science.
From 1999 to 2004, while working on his PhD, Matthias was a Project Engineer and Senior Researcher at the Technical University Aachen, Germany. He gained substantial experience on international project management.
After his PhD, Matthias used a gap year to widen his cultural horizons and collect interpersonal skills while travelling around the world.
From 2006 to 2010 Matthias worked as a project engineer in a medical company researching materials and technologies for the production of blood filters used for dialysis.
Matthias applied for ESA’s last round of astronaut selection in 2008 and made it into the final 10 applicants who passed all selection tests. He joined ESA in 2010 working at the European Astronaut Centre as a crew support engineer and Eurocom. In 2012 he began to take charge of projects such as preparing flight operations with new international partners and kicking off projects to extend ESA’s expertise in exploration beyond the International Space Station.
In September 2014 Matthias was a member of ESA’s underground training course and contributed to the project with his Eurocom and extensive lab experience while also assessing the programme for participation of new international partners.
In July 2015 Matthias joined the European astronaut corps in Cologne, Germany, and started his basic astronaut training, which he will complete in 2017.
In the summer of 2016 Matthias participated in NASA’s NEEMO 21 underwater mission simulation, spending 16 days underwater to test hardware and experiments for the International Space Station as well as testing exploration strategies and tools for future missions to Mars.