Dr. Gerhard Paul Julius Thiele (born September 2, 1953) is a German physicist and a former ESA astronaut. In 1996, he was selected by the German Space Agency to receive Space Shuttle Mission Specialist training at NASA. In August 1998, he joined the European Space Agency (ESA), into which the German national team was integrated. In 2000, he completed his only spaceflight, the STS-99 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.
STS-99 was a Space Shuttle mission using Endeavour, that launched on 11 February 2000 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The primary objective of the mission was the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) project. This was also the last solo flight of Endeavour; all future flights for Endeavour became devoted to the International Space Station.Low Earth Orbit
The European Space Agency is an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states. Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France, ESA has a worldwide staff of about 2,000 employees. ESA's space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana.