Horizons mission – exercise in space

We all know the importance of exercise, but in space it is even more important to keep astronauts alive and healthy. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst explains how crew members on the International Space Station exercise for 2.5 hours a day to maintain muscle and bone strength.

From the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilisation (CEVIS), to the Treadmill 2 (T2) and Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED), Alexander shows how the exercise equipment astronauts use in space is similar to what you might find in a gym on Earth – with a few important changes for microgravity.

Alexander took over as commander of the International Space Station for Expedition 57 on 3 October 2018 and will remain on the Station until December 2018 as part of his Horizons mission.

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Horizons science – robotics

Flying at 28 800 km/h, 400 km above Earth, from the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst controlled a robot called Justin on 17 August 2018. Justin was stationed at the DLR German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
ESA has run multiple experiments from the Space Station with robots to test the network, the control system and the robots on Earth. This is a new area for everybody involved and each aspect needs to be tested. This is the third in a series of SUPVIS-Justin orbital experiments. The first was carried out by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli in August 2017.

The SUPVIS-Justin experiment took around four hours in total. This included set-up, software updates and two hours of interaction between Alexander and Justin.

The tests were chosen to enact future scenarios in which astronauts orbiting distant planets and moons can instruct robots to do difficult or dangerous tasks and set up base before landing for further exploration. The experiment fits in ESA’s strategy to prepare for further exploration of our Universe.

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European Astro Pi Challenge 2018/19 | ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst announcement

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst launches the 2018/19 European Astro Pi Challenge; an ESA Education project run in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. He invites students and young people to conduct their own scientific investigations in space, by writing computer programs that run on Raspberry Pi computers on board the International Space Station.

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Hallo Berlin!

From onboard the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst talks with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, in context of the award ceremony of the ‘Jugend forscht’ (‘Youth researches’) science contest, held in Berlin on 6 September 2018.

Credits: Bundesregierung

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Releasing the Dragon

This timelapse video shows still pictures taken from the International Space Station of the departing #Dragon supply spacecraft. Played in quick succession the video displays faster than real life but in 4K resolution.

The Dragon spacecraft was released from the Station’s robotic arm at 18:38 GMT on 3 August 2018. Thrusters fired to increase its distance from the Space Station and the spacecraft started its deorbit and return to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean less than seven hours after release.

The International Space Station flies at 28 800 km/h above our planet doing a complete orbit in around 90 minutes – during release operations the sun set and rose above the horizon many times.

As Dragon faded into the distance it flew over a stormy part of Earth – lightning flashes can be seen many kilometres below.

Dragon is the only spacecraft that can return to Earth with scientific cargo aside from the Soyuz spacecraft that ferries astronauts to space and back – this flight carried over 1700 kg of cargo.

Watch the release of Cygnus here: https://youtu.be/bttU_rKoti0

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Bye bye Cygnus

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor commanded the International Space Station’s 16-m robotic arm to release a #Cygnus supply spacecraft to burn up harmlessly over Earth.

The duo set up the robotic workstation in the European-built Cupola module to follow operations from the observatory. You can see Alexander opening the protective shutters from a window at the start of the video.

The spacecraft was released at 14:17 GMT on 15 July 2018 as the International Space Station flew over Colombia.

Cygnus spent two weeks orbiting Earth on its own allowing engineers to conduct tests as well as releasing a series of miniature satellites before ending its mission.

Watch the release of Dragon here: https://youtu.be/0_TxRN8OnCA

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ESA is Europe’s gateway to space. Our mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. Check out http://www.esa.int/ESA to get up to speed on everything space related.

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Horizons mission time-lapse – from Alaska to the Andes

Ever wondered what it feels like to fly from Alaska to the Andes in 260 seconds? ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this timelapse footage of Alaska, the USA and South America while orbiting Earth on board the International Space Station.

This timelapse is made up of 6,375 images shown 12.5 times faster than actual speed. Music is Our Oasis by Miriam Speyer, sourced from Audio Network Limited.

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Horizons mission time-lapse – Australia and New Zealand

Māori, as native New Zealanders, refer to their islands as “Aotearoa” or “the land of the long white cloud”. This timelapse from ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst shows Australia and New Zealand shrouded in cloud from the unique viewpoint of the International Space Station.

Comprised of 5,175 photos, this timelapse is 12.5 times faster than actual speed and is set to the soundtrack “Try or Die” sourced from Audio Network Limited.

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Horizons mission time-lapse – an orbital sunrise

Orbiting Earth once every 90 minutes, the International Space Station soars into 16 sunrises and sunsets every single day. Many of these sunrises occur while the crew is working or sleeping, but ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this stunning timelapse of a sunrise to share with us here on Earth.

These photos were taken by Alexander at an interval of two per second and the video has been edited at 25 frames per second.

Music: First Survivors 4 by Los Angeles-based British composer, Luke Richards. Sourced from Audio Network Limited.

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Horizons science – airway monitoring

In space, there is no such thing as waiting for the dust to settle. Rather than drifting to the ground, dust particles float about continuously and can irritate eyes and lungs.

By recording how much nitrogen oxide he exhales in space as part of the Airway Monitoring experiment, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is helping researchers understand how to monitor, diagnose and treat lung conditions like asthma here on Earth.

The findings of this monitoring will also be crucial to exploring the Moon and even Mars – where dust is considered even more toxic and must be carefully managed for astronauts’ health.

The Airways Monitoring experiment has been underway since 2015. Later in the Horizons mission Alexander will repeat the experiment in the reduced pressure of the airlock.

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