Alexander Gerst's mission 'horizons – Knowledge for Tomorrow'

Alexander Gerst during training
Alexander Gerst during training
Image 1/22, Image: NASA/J. Blair

Alexander Gerst during training

The German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in Houston training for his 'horizons' mission.

Alexander Gerst during training
Alexander Gerst during training
Image 2/22, Image: NASA/J. Blair

Alexander Gerst during training

The German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in Houston training for his 'horizons' mission.

‘Horizons’ mission logo
‘Horizons’ mission logo
Image 3/22, Image: DLR/ESA/Steinbeis Beratungszentren GmbH

‘Horizons’ mission logo

The ISS Horizons mission will start at the end of April 2018 and continue until late October. The German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst will also serve as ISS commander during his time on board.

German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst
German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst
Image 4/22, Image: NASA

German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst

During the second half of his mission, Gerst will lead this international space community as Mission horizons commander of the ISS.

Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory
Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory
Image 5/22, Image: Volker Schmid/DLR

Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory

The Sonny Carter Training Facility - situated near the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas - has a gigantic swimming pool called the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. The entire western portion of the ISS can be submerged in it so that astronauts can practise spacewalks and repair jobs while 'floating' at the outside of the station.

Crew member training
Crew member training
Image 6/22, Image: NASA-J. Valcarel

Crew member training

Smoke and ammonia can be lethal if released in enclosed spaces. In the isolated conditions prevailing on the ISS it is necessary to meticulously learn the correct response to measures, and to prevent such a contingency from occurring in the first place. Gas masks can save lives.

Emergency response training
Emergency response training
Image 7/22, Image: NASA-J. Valcarcel

Emergency response training

Crew members of the 56/57 mission Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst attending an emergency response training unit at NASA’s site in Houston, Texas.

Handover of the Time Capsule
Handover of the Time Capsule
Image 8/22, Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Handover of the Time Capsule

Pascale Ehrenfreund (right), Chair of the DLR Executive Board, presented the Time Capsule to the German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst. ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner also attended the mission presentation.

Training at Johnson Space Center
Training at Johnson Space Center
Image 9/22, Image: Volker Schmid/DLR

Training at Johnson Space Center

Japan's HTV-7 transport vehicle will visit the ISS during the horizons mission sometime in August. The docking will be performed by means of a robotic arm. Alexander Gerst took part in a systems engineering simulation (SES) manouevre at the Johnson Space Center to become familiarised with the docking procedure.

Coupling manoeuvre training
Coupling manoeuvre training
Image 10/22, Image: Volker Schmid/DLR

Coupling manoeuvre training

In Star City near Moscow all astronauts and cosmonauts learn to carry out the coupling manoeuvre between a Russan Soyuz capsule and the ISS.

Training of docking procedure
Training of docking procedure
Image 11/22, Image: Volker Schmid/DLR

Training of docking procedure

Japan's HTV-7 transport vehicle will visit the ISS during the horizons mission sometime in August. The docking will be performed by means of a robotic arm. Alexander Gerst took part in a systems engineering simulation (SES) manouevre at the Johnson Space Center to become familiarised with the docking procedure.

Alexander Gerst 'suiting up'
Alexander Gerst 'suiting up'
Image 12/22, Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Alexander Gerst 'suiting up'

Shortly before the launch, the astronauts put on the launch suits and try out their seats in the Soyuz Capsule.

Air conditioning in a suitcase
Air conditioning in a suitcase
Image 13/22, Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Air conditioning in a suitcase

The air conditioning for the suit is located in the small blue suitcase. Alexander Gerst mounted his GoPro on it.

Ready for the mission - the crew of Expedition 56/57
Ready for the mission - the crew of Expedition 56/57
Image 14/22, Image: Volker Schmid/DLR

Ready for the mission - the crew of Expedition 56/57

Ready for the mission: the crew of Expedition 56/57 with Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor, Sergei Prokopyev and Alexander Gerst (from left to right) posing in their Sokol spacesuits during a visit to the Russian Star City.

Crew agrees to fly
Crew agrees to fly
Image 15/22, Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Crew agrees to fly

The crew declares that it is ready for flight before officials from the Russian space agency Roscosmos and the flight management.

Launch to the ISS
Launch to the ISS
Image 16/22, Image: ESA/S. Corvaja

Launch to the ISS

On 6 June 2018 at 13:12 CEST, a Soyuz MS-09 rocket was launched from the Russian spaceport in Baikonur, carrying German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA astronaut Serena Maria Aunon-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev to the ISS.

The Expedition 56 crew on the ISS
The Expedition 56 crew on the ISS
Image 17/22, Image: NASA

The Expedition 56 crew on the ISS

The newly expanded six-member Expedition 56 crew gathers in the Zvezda module shortly after the three new crewmembers arrived on 8 June 2018. In the image (from left to right) – front row: Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev, German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor; back row: Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel and NASA astronaut Richard Arnold.

Launch SpaceX CRS-15
Launch SpaceX CRS-15
Image 18/22, Image: NASA

Launch SpaceX CRS-15

CIMON and six other experiments for the 'horizons' mission lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Friday, 29 June 2018 at 11:42 CEST (05:42 local time) on board a US Dragon capsule with a Falcon 9 launcher.

CIMON and project managers at Kennedy Space Center
CIMON and project managers at Kennedy Space Center
Image 19/22, Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

CIMON and project managers at Kennedy Space Center

From left to right: DLR Project Manager Christian Karrasch and Airbus Systems Engineer Philipp Schulien with CIMON in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

CIMON: Autonomous astronaut assistant
CIMON: Autonomous astronaut assistant
Image 20/22, Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

CIMON: Autonomous astronaut assistant

This DLR infographic presents the relevant facts about the horizons experiment CIMON at a glance.

MagVector/MFX-2: A planetary laboratory in earth orbit
MagVector/MFX-2: A planetary laboratory in earth orbit
Image 21/22, Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

MagVector/MFX-2: A planetary laboratory in earth orbit

This DLR infographic presents the relevant facts about this horizons experiment at a glance.

Myotones
Myotones
Image 22/22, Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Myotones

In the infographic Myotones all relevant Facts and aspects of the horizons experiment is presented at a glance.

Gerst embarked on his mission to the International Space Station –'horizons - knowledge for tomorrow –on 6 June 2018. There he worked for the second time in the largest international technology project of all time. From the beginning of October he was also commander of the ISS.

Media items
  • Alexander Gerst during training

    Alexander Gerst during training

    Image: NASA/J. Blair  |  Download
    The German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in Houston training for his 'horizons' mission.
  • Alexander Gerst during training

    Alexander Gerst during training

    Image: NASA/J. Blair  |  Download
    The German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in Houston training for his 'horizons' mission.
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