Franz Viehböck is an Austrian electrical engineer and cosmonaut, the first Austrian to fly in space.
Franz Artur Viehböck was born on August 24, 1960 in Vienna, Austria. He graduated in Electronics Engineering from the Vienna University of Technology.
In 1988, when Viehböck worked as an Assistant Professor, the newspaper announcement of a possible Austrian flight to the space station “Mir” caught his attention. He interrupted his doctoral study to qualify as a candidate for the cosmonaut training at the Russian Juri-Gagarin-Trainings-Center.
Two years later (in 1991) Franz Viehböck was chosen for the joint Austrian-Soviet Mission “Austromir“ and became the first and till now only Austrian to fly to space. During his stay at the “Mir” space station, he conducted 15 scientific experiments in the fields of space medicine, physics and space technology together with the cosmonauts Alexander Volkov, Anatolyj Artsebarskyj and Sergei Krikalev. After seven days and 22 hours, Viehböck returned in Soyuz TM-12 and landed in Kazakhstan.
Back on earth, Franz Viehböck worked for the Austrian government giving lectures about his experience and scientific research on the space station “Mir”. In early 1994, following his ambition to enter the world of High Tech industry, he accepted a position with Rockwell Space Systems Division in Los Angeles, California. Shortly after the Boeing Company acquired the former Rockwell Aerospace and defense group, Viehböck became Director of International Business Development. In addition to his activities with Boeing, in March 2000 Franz Viehböck became Technology Adviser for the Governor of Lower Austria. After eight successful years within American space industry, Franz was ready for a new challenge: he accepted the position of the President of Berndorf Band, an innovative company belonging to the Berndorf Group. January 2008 was marked with another change: Franz Viehböck became a member of the Management Board of the Berndorf Corporation, and since July of 2020 he serves as the CEO of this Corporation.