The symbolic objects and presents

The first flight of an Austrian into space was not only a challenge and touchstone for the Austrian science. It was a distinctive event for the state and the country. The Austrian cosmonaut took many strains, a hard training and a not little risk for his mission. However AUSTROMIR wasn`t the accomplishment of a single one: it was an Austrian project, and many superior scientists and the hope and expectations of the whole nation stood behind this work. This aspect was underlined through a series of symbolic objects, which attended Austria`s first man on his flight into space. These objects stood representive for a country with a thousand years old history, a nation, which performed brilliant achievement in the areas of art and science. And they will be conserved as permanent witnesses of this one-time space flight for the future.

Austria carried with the symbolic objects on the tradition, which had been cultivated since many years from Soviet side: guest cosmonauts led flags, medals, stamps of their home countries with them, and some of them were assigned afterwards. These objects enjoyed themselves a great popularity at the Soviets and highest appreciation and were shown in line of public exhibitions.

The symbolic objects
  • 1 big Austrian flag (1.0 m x 1.5 m)
  • 8 streamers of the Austrian Republic with the national coat of arms
  • 9 streamers of the provinces
  • 100 streamer in the national colors
  • 125 present- and campaign medals
  • 1 copper cuboid for the further galvanization of badges
  • 30 envelopes with AUSTROMIR special issue stamps
  • 1000 AUSTROMIR special issue stamps
  • 10 facsimiles of the Ostarrichi papers
  • 1 tape cassette with the danube waltz
  • 1 board stamp TROMIR with the date 7 October 1991 on board of the MIR
  • 9 Mozart scores (ever a page)
  • 1 poster of the Bundeslaender-insurance
  • 1 page from the book “The little prince” of Saint-Exupéry
  • 25 QSL cards
  • 10 papers for at AREMIR involved schools
Dinner is served

Following the tradition of the Soviet space flight the guest cosmonauts invited the crew of the MIR to a common banquet. Austria, as a country where a good meal is the expression of life culture, took up this tradition willingly. A typical Austrian banquet thinks everybody to be a hefty-tender Viennese Schnitzel. But even if the Russian nutrition experts liked the taste of this Austrian national dish, they sadly refused it the attribute “space fit”. The crumb would have been whiring even days after the meal weightlessness through the space station. Similar reasons spoke against many other Austrian specialties. The meal (mass ca. 4 kg) was packed in an aluminium box (380 mm x 300 mm x 120 mm) and was set together by products from different AUSTROMIR-sponsor firms:

  • Drip grind in foil sacks (Company Hornig, Graz)
  • Viennese rice meal in cans (Company Inzersdorfer GmbH, Inzersdorf)
  • Salami bzw. gammon in slices, vacuum-packed (Company Messner, Stainz)
  • Wholemeal-rye bread (Company Ankerbrot AG, Vienna)
  • Mozart balls (Company Mirabell, Groedning)
  • PEZ-candy in giver figures (Company Haas Naehrmittel, Linz)
Franz Viehboeck with the opened aluminum box with the guest meal. Photo: BMBWK
After the flight …

After the flight all symbolic objects were attached with a specific plumb and so marked as original space items. The most of them were thought as present. So the Federal President, the Federal Chancellor and the presidents of the National- and Federal Assembly got each an Austrian-streamer. The streamers with the colors of the provinces were assigned to the heads of the provincial governments. A very personal present had the AUSTROMIR-team for its “chief”, the Federal Minister of Science and Research, vice chancellor Busek. A page of his favorite book “The little prince” of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry which had been on a space trip as the little hero of this literary masterpiece, to finally enrich the former minister´s library.