Horizons science – soft matter dynamics

In the absence of gravity, foams and granular materials stick together for longer. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst shares how researchers are studying the properties of these materials in space to help innovation on Earth.

ESA’s Soft Matter Dynamics experiment was transported to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule in June 2018 and installed in the Columbus laboratory on 19 July. It is one of over 50 experiments Alexander has direct involvement with, with many more taking place on board the International Space Station throughout his Horizons mission.

Alexander took over as commander of the International Space Station for Expedition 57 on 3 October 2018. Follow Alexander and the Horizons mission on social media via http://bit.ly/AlexanderGerstESA and on http://bit.ly/HorizonsBlogESA.

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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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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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Beyond Mission | Presentation event

A video recap of an event held at ESA’s ESRIN establishment in Italy, where ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano revealed the mission name and patch for his 2019 mission to the International Space Station.

The name Beyond was inspired by his fellow ESA astronauts. From the nearness to Earth of Thomas Pesquet’s mission, to the broadening scope of Alexander Gerst’s Horizons mission, Luca saw a path that push humanity even further for the benefit of all.

Learn more about #Beyond and Luca Parmitano: http://lucaparmitano.esa.int

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Beyond | Luca Parmitano’s 2019 mission to the ISS

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s second International Space Station mission name is ‘Beyond’, in this video he explains the name and logo. Luca returns to space in 2019 as part of Expedition 60/61, alongside Andrew Morgan of NASA and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos.

In selecting Beyond, Luca was inspired by his fellow ESA astronauts. From the nearness to Earth of Thomas Pesquet’s Proxima mission to the broadening scope of Alexander Gerst’s current Horizons mission, Luca saw a path that will push humanity even farther, for the benefit of all.

“What we do in orbit is not for the astronauts or for the International Space Station programme, it is for everybody,” Luca explains. “It is for Earth, it is for humanity, and it is the only path for us to learn what we need in terms of science and technology in order to go beyond.”

The mission logo illustrates this trajectory. An astronaut looks out into space. The Earth and the orbiting Space Station are reflected in the helmet’s visor. In the distance is the Moon poised for humanity’s return, with the Orion spacecraft and exploratory rovers. Beyond is the Red Planet, currently being studied by satellites like ExoMars and Mars Express and one day by humans.

The research Luca will be conducting on the Space Station will contribute to keeping humans safe on longer exploratory missions. Also on the agenda for Luca are demonstrations that will develop the technological and operational knowledge that will allow humans, together with robots, to explore lunar and martian surfaces from orbit and on the surface.

Learn more about #Beyond and Luca Parmitano: http://lucaparmitano.esa.int

Watch the Italian version of this video: https://youtu.be/1DHXWfejJRM

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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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The European Astro Pi Challenge: Code your experiment. Send it to space!

The European Astro Pi Challenge is an ESA Education project run in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It offers students and young people the amazing opportunity to conduct 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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