Sigmund Jahn was a pioneer in the field of space travel. He was one of the first participants in the Interkosmos program. Additionally, he was the first native German to fly to space.

Interkosmos was a program by the Soviet Union. It was designed to bring the Soviet Union's communist allies into the fold of space travel. A pilot in East Germany's Air Force, Jahn was chosen for the program in 1976. He later became something of a mediator between programs of the East and the West.

Jahn died on September 21st

According to Deutsche Welle, the German Aerospace Center announced Jahn's death.

Now a unified country, Jahn was an icon in Germany. Jahn made his voyage to outer space in 1978.

He launched on Soyuz 31 with Soviet cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky, who also died this year. They eventually docked with the space station Salyut 6. Jahn conducted experiments in various subjects including biology and geophysics. He and Bykovsky would return to Earth aboard Soyuz 29.

Jahn was also supposed to take part in a special filming for an East German children's program. Its title translated to 'Our Sandman'. But Jahn took part in jokes that were deemed inappropriate. As a result, plans for the filming were scrapped.

Almost immediately after landing, Jahn was named a Hero of the Soviet Union and given the Order of Lenin.

Comparable to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Order of Lenin was the highest given by the Soviet Union. Despite being a military officer, Jahn's space flight was considered a civilian act. He received similar recognition from East Germany. Jahn was awarded the Order of Karl Marx and given a similar 'Hero' title.

Jahn was chosen to lead the Center for Cosmic Education, newly-created for the East German Air Force.

He later retired from the Air Force as a major general. When he was chosen for the Interkosmos program, he had been a lieutenant-colonel.

Remained a key figure in reunified Germany

Following Germany's reunification, Jahn remained active studying space exploration. He quickly became a consultant with the German Aerospace Center.

Eventually, he was hired by the European Space Agency.

Initially, Jahn helped oversee preparations for missions aboard the space station Mir. As Badische Zeitung reports, he also helped to build alliances with other programs around the world. Perhaps more specifically, programs from traditionally capitalist countries. The new international endeavors, largely governed by capitalists, would reach unprecedented successes. Jahn retired from the agency in 2002.

Jahn was married with two daughters. Aside from the military and space programs, he trained in printing books.