Aerospace student experiences weightlessness during parabolic flight

International, Study |

Michaela Benthaus had dreamed of becoming an astronaut since she was a young girl. Then came the accident that changed her life completely. In December the aerospace student experienced zero gravity for the first time – through a US program that aims to make space accessible to everyone.


Michaela Benthaus has always been “mega fascinated” by outer space and space travel. Ever since she first watched Star Wars at the age of 10, and was amazed by “all of those spaceships”, she was determined  to become an astronaut.

Benthaus never gave up on her dream – and continues to pursue it today. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechatronics Engineering, she was accepted into the TUM Masters Program in Aerospace, specializing in space and astrophysics.

Childhood dreams of outer space

To many, her continued belief in her childhood dream might seem very optimistic. After a mountain biking accident in September 2018 it looked like she had no chance of ever taking off for outer space and experiencing weightlessness. Since the crash, Michaela (30) has been a paraplegic.

“That is not how people picture an astronaut,” says the native of Kiel, Germany. At first Benthaus thought that space flight “was never going to happen” for her. But in recent years she has gradually regained hope: “The times we live in and the technical possibilities are changing.” An amputee who lost his leg was recently accepted for a feasibility study by the European Space Agency (ESA).

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Aerospace student experiences weightlessness during parabolic flight - TUM