Astronaut to shmooze via live space video chat

One small step for man, one giant leap for video chat. On November 28, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter will converse with space enthusiasts, live via the Web, from the International Space Station some 250 miles above Earth.

Reiter is now in the closing stages of the Astrolab Mission, Europe's first long-duration mission to the International Space Station.

Tuesday's chat--which is being organized at ESA's European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, in partnership with German Internet service provider T-Online--will let German-speaking space fans get firsthand information from Reiter as he flies over Russia at a speed of 28,000 kilometers per hour.

Questions submitted by the public will be relayed in real time by a moderator.

Before and after the live space link, German ESA astronaut Reinhold Ewald, located at the EAC, will also field questions from T-Online users via chat. Ewald is the mission manager for Astrolab and normally oversees activities from ESA's Columbus Control Centre, where he is in daily contact with Reiter. In 1997, Ewald was a crew member aboard the Russian Mir space station.

The space chat kicks off at 21:15 CET. A direct link to the event (in German) can be found here.

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