Wubbo Ockels

  • STS -61- A ( 1985)

John Wubbo Ockels ( born March 28, 1946 in Almelo, Netherlands) is a Dutch physicist and former astronaut. He was the first Dutch citizen in space, after half a year previously, the Dutchman Lodewijk van den Berg was launched into space, but this was at the time of his space flight already U.S. citizens.


He studied physics and mathematics in 1973 and got his diploma. From 1973 to 1978, Ockels devoted to research on elementary particle accelerator at the Institute of Nuclear Physics ( KVI ), University of Groningen and obtained in 1978 a PhD degree in physics and mathematics.

In the same year Ockels was selected as a participant in the D1 mission, a joint project of NASA and ESA, and flew on 30 October 1985 on the Space Shuttle Challenger during the STS -61 -A mission for seven days in space.

Since 1992 Ockels Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Technical University of Delft. There he developed, for example kites, which are intended to produce energy. Ockels is also an associate professor at the Institute for Energy and Environment ( IVEM ) of the University of Groningen.

At ESA, he headed the Office of Education projects and was also responsible for the annual parabolic flight missions for students in this function. He also works as a consultant for the student team Nuon, which repeatedly won the World Solar Challenge.


After him the asteroid ( 9496 ) Ockels is named.