In the series For All Mankind, seen on Apple’s streaming service Apple TV +, the viewer follows an alternate history. In the series, it was the Russians who landed on the moon first and get involved in a space race with the US to build a moon base first. In the first episode of the second season, a striking character comes along: the Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels.
Ockels was selected as a physicist and extraordinary professor at the University of Groningen in 1978 to participate in the Spacelab program of the European space agency ESA. Two years later he completed his astronaut training at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Texas. From October 30 to November 6, 1985, Ockels made his first space flight with the space shuttle Challenger.
Ockels then remained associated with the European Space Research and Technology Center of the ESA in Noordwijk and presented the TROS television program Kijk TV. During his career, Ockels became increasingly committed to climate protection and sustainable energy production.
Some of his research projects are the Green Canals, the ladder mill, solar car Nuna who won the World Solar Challenge several times and the superbus. The hanging sleeping bag that is attached to the wall in spacecraft and is used to date is an invention of Ockels. He died in 2014 from kidney cancer.
In the series, the timeline arrived in 1983. In real history, the last moon landing took place more than a decade before, the Americans were about to send the first female astronaut on the Space Shuttle and the Russians had difficulty docking. of cosmonauts to their Salyut space station, the predecessor of Mir. However, in the alternate history of the series, both the Americans and Russians have built a moon base with permanent occupation, both men and women. The Cold War is still in full swing.
In the American ‘camp’ we see various Western astronauts pass by in the series, including Canadian, Italian and therefore the Dutchman Wubbo Ockels. His character is active on the lunar surface where he helps a fellow astronaut with research. When a dangerous solar storm hits the moon and the astronauts have to hide, things get exciting.
ESA is also looking for new astronauts for the first time in eleven years. The campaign for new vacancies will start at the end of March.