In this March 24, 2019 cosmonaut Sigmund Jaehn stands in front of the Cosmonaut Center in Chemnitz. Sigmund Jaehn cosmonaut, who became the first German in space has died. He was 82. (Hendrik Schmidt/dpa via AP)

Sigmund Jaehn, 1st German in space as 1970s cosmonaut, dies

September 22, 2019 - 3:56 pm

BERLIN (AP) — Sigmund Jaehn, who became the first German in space at the height of the Cold War in the 1970s and was promoted by communist authorities as an East German hero, has died. He was 82.

The German Aerospace Center said Sunday on its website that Jaehn died Saturday. The center did not give the cause of death.

The Aerospace Center's Pascale Ehrenfreund said Germany had lost a globally respected cosmonaut, scientist and engineer.

Ehrenfreund said: "the first German in space always saw himself as a bridge-builder between East and West and for a peaceful use of space."

Jaehn flew to the Salyut 6 space station on Aug. 26, 1978 and spent a week there before returning to a hero's welcome while remaining largely unknown in West Germany.

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