Human language

ESA astronaut Mogensen will embark on the Huginn mission to the ISS – Parabolic Arc

The portrait of ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen is his blue flight suit with the ESA crest and the Danish flag. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen of Denmark is about to return to the International Space Station for his first long-duration mission on the Station. With just one year left before its launch in mid-2023, a name for the mission has been chosen: Huginn.

This name, chosen by Andreas, finds its origin in Norse mythology with Huginn and Muninn – two crows accomplices of the god Odin. Together the two symbolize the human mind, Huginn representing thought and Muninn, memory.

These birds are not just spies or messengers of the highest god, they also serve as his confidants and advisers, speaking with human language. At dawn, Odin sends them flying across all of Midgard, to gather worldly knowledge to bring home each evening.

Credit: ESA

The parallels between this ancient tale and manned spaceflight are clear – while on the Station, Andreas will conduct many cutting-edge scientific experiments, the results of which will translate into the improvement of life here on Earth. As Andreas himself explains:

“Astronauts are explorers who travel into space to gather information and expand our knowledge of our world, much like Huginn, who was sent out every day to fly around the world and bring information back to Odin.

“I’m very happy with the name Huginn, because it’s so symbolic of my upcoming mission to the International Space Station,” Andreas continued. “The patch that ESA designed around the name is also beautiful and unique.”

The mission patch itself, created by ESA graphic designer Karen Lochtenberg, is rendered in the red and white of the Danish flag, alongside ESA’s ‘Deep Space Blue’. Like many patches before it, it is rich in symbolism tied to the mission ethos.

Huginn is depicted flying to the right, moving into the future as it glides above an elevating horizon of Earth, which could also be seen as the Moon or Mars. Huginn’s wing includes shading in the shape of Andreas’ homeland of Denmark, while the white of the wing’s high point – referred to by the designer as the “swoosh” – represents the journey to the Space Station it -even from Andreas’ birthplace in Copenhagen.

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen trains for spacewalks. (Credit: ESA – S. Corvaja)

Two stripes on Huginn’s back represent the station’s distinctive solar panels and also indicate that this is Andreas’ second mission. Six stars adorning the sky of this patch form a constellation that resembles the Viking symbol for “safe journeys”.

Andreas is to fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon as part of Crew-7 to the International Space Station, but is also ready as a backup pilot for Crew-6. He previously spent 10 days in space on a Space Station mission called “iriss” in 2015.

You can follow Andreas’ latest mission, Huginn, via his Twitteror ESA channels.