Horizons mission – First call from space

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst spoke to European media from the International Space Station on 12 June 2018, just three days after docking with the orbiting outpost.

The press conference was held at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, and was mainly in German.

Alexander answered questions on climate, how it feel to be in space a second time, and the football World Cup.

This is Alexander’s second six-month stay on the International Space Station. The mission is called Horizons as a symbol for the unknown and what lies beyond. The mission further cements ESA’s know-how for living and working off-planet. Alexander will be testing ways of operating and working with robots to develop techniques required for further human and robotic exploration of our Solar System such as commanding rovers while orbiting another planet.

The Horizons science programme is packed with European research: Alexander will take part in over 50 experiments to deliver benefits to people on Earth as well as prepare for future space exploration. Many of these experiments will take place in Europe’s Columbus laboratory that is celebrating its 10th anniversary in space this year.

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Horizons mission – docking and hatch opening highlights

After orbiting Earth 34 times to catch up to the International Space Station, the car-sized spacecraft carrying ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos commander Sergei Prokopyev, arrived at the Station two days after launch.

The German astronaut is a returning visitor to the International Space Station, the first of ESA’s 2009 class of astronauts to be sent into space for a second time. During the second part of his mission Alexander will take over as commander of the International Space Station, only the second time an ESA astronaut will take on this role so far.

The mission is called Horizons as a symbol for the unknown and what lies beyond – reflecting on ESA’s strategy to extend human and robotic exploration beyond Earth orbit. While in space, Alexander will work on over 50 European experiments, including testing ways of operating and working with robots to develop techniques required for further human and robotic exploration of our Solar System.

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Horizons mission – preparations to liftoff

Going to space is not an easy thing.

Here are the highlights of the preparations and liftoff for the Horizons mission with ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst.

At 11:12 GMT (13:12 CEST) on 6 June 2018, Alexander was launched into space alongside NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos commander Sergei Prokopyev in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Horizons mission – liftoff replay

At 11:12 GMT (13:12 CEST), 6 June 2018, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst was launched into space alongside NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos commander Sergei Prokopyev in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Horizons mission – crew is ready

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst talks from Baikonur Cosmodrome, just a couple of days before his second launch to the International Space Station for the Horizons mission.

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Horizons mission – all systems go

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is about to return to to the International Space Station. His last trip occurred four years ago in May 2014 making him the first of ESA’s 2009 class of astronauts to be sent into space for a second time. Since then he has been busy preparing for his next mission called Horizons. Continuous training helps astronauts to be mentally prepared to handle emergencies.

Alexander will be launched into space alongside NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos commander Sergei Prokopyev in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. The trio will blast off from Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan and will arrive at the International Space Station two days later, marking the start of Alexander’s Horizons mission.

The mission is called Horizons as a symbol for the unknown and what lies beyond. As part of all Space Station missions, scientific experiments make up a large part of the astronauts’ time to broaden our horizons as humankind.

During the second part of his mission Alexander will take over as commander of the International Space Station, only the second time an ESA astronaut will take on this role so far.

The Space Station allows for long-term studies with humans in microgravity. ESA’s Columbus research module has been doing so since 2008 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Follow Alexander and the Horizons mission on social media via bit.ly/AlexanderGerstESA and on bit.ly/HorizonsBlogESA.

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Do you know Alexander Gerst?

Meet ESA astronaut, Alexander Gerst, and see him prepare for his next ISS mission: Horizons.

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Learn more about Horizons: http://bit.ly/HorizonsAlexanderGerst

Horizons News Conference – 17 April 2018

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst’s last news conference in Europe before his second launch into space. The event was presented in German and English.

The mission is called Horizons to evoke exploring our Universe, looking further than our planet and broadening our knowledge.
Alex will be launched in June with US astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev from the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft.

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Learn more about:

Horizons: http://bit.ly/HorizonsOverview

Electromagnetic levitator: http://bit.ly/ElectroMagneticLevitator

Live cell imaging: http://bit.ly/LiveCellImagingHorizons

CIMON: http://bit.ly/CIMONAirbus

Testing astronauts lungs: http://bit.ly/TestingAstronautsLungsInSpaceStation

Astro-Pi Challenge: http://bit.ly/AstroPiChallenge2017

Alexander Gerst training in Houston

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst will fly to the International Space Station on the Russian Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft in June 2018.

It will be the second mission to space for the German astronaut. During his stay he will take over duties as commander of the Space Station.

This video shows Alexander training for his mission at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, USA. It includes interviews in English and German.

Alexander will spend some six months aboard for his Horizons mission, named for its goal of broadening our knowledge of Earth, low-Earth orbit and beyond.

Alexander has an exciting (and packed) schedule of science for Horizons. Over 50 European experiments are planned, targeting areas such as human ageing and medicine, climate, digitalisation and fundamental research.