'Blue Dot' mission

'Blue Dot - Shap­ing the fu­ture' - Alexan­der Gerst's mis­sion to space

German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst
Ger­man ESA as­tro­naut Alexan­der Gerst
Image 1/2, Credit: NASA.

German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst

As part of his 'Blue Dot – Shap­ing the fu­ture' mis­sion, Ger­man ESA as­tro­naut Alexan­der Gerst will be on the In­ter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion ISS for 166 days.
Blue Dot mission logo
Blue Dot mis­sion lo­go
Image 2/2, Credit: ESA.

Blue Dot mission logo

Lo­go for the 'Blue Dot – Shap­ing the fu­ture' mis­sion to the In­ter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion by Ger­man ESA as­tro­naut Alexan­der Gerst.

At 21:57 CEST on 28 May 2014, German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, en route to the International Space Station (ISS). He was the third German to live and work on board the ISS. During his mission, which lasted 165 days, Alexander Gerst was involved in 100 different experiments from the various ISS partners.

The images acquired during the Bluedot mission are available in our image gallery.

On 10 November 2014, after a three-and-a-half hour journey on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, Alexander Gerst landed on the Kazakh steppe at 4:58 CET (9:58 local time).

'Blue Dot' - Overview/Data

Mission:'Blue Dot - shaping the future' (Expeditions 40/41 to the ISS)
Launch date:28 May 2014, 21:57 CEST
Launch site:Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Spacecraft:Soyuz TMA-13M
Docking:29 May, 2014 03:44 CEST
Hatch opening:29 May, 2014 05:52 CEST
Mission duration:166 days
Crew:Alexander Gerst (ESA), Gregory Reid Wiseman (NASA), Maxim Surayev (Roscosmos)
Return to Earth:10 November 2014
ISS Expedition 40
Commander:Steven Swanson, 3rd space flight, NASA
1st Flight engineer:Alexander Skvortsov, 2nd space flight, Roscosmos
2nd Flight engineer:Oleg Artemyev, 1st space flight, Roscosmos
3rd Flight engineer:Maxim Surayev, 2nd space flight, Roscosmos
4th Flight engineer:Reid Wiseman, 1st space flight, NASA
5th Flight engineer:Alexander Gerst, 1st space flight, ESA
ISS-Expedition 41
Commander:Maxim Surayev
1st Flight engineer:Reid Wiseman
2nd Flight engineer:Alexander Gerst
3rd Flight engineer:Alexander Samokutyayev, 2nd space flight, Roscosmos
4th Flight engineer:Elena Serova, 1st space flight, Roscosmos
5th Flight engineer:Barry Wilmore, 2nd space flight, NASA

German experiments during the Blue Dot mission

Material sciences research
Experiments in the Electromagnetic Levitator (EML) melting furnace, Columbus Module:
Check-Out Experiment:Airbus Defence & Space, Friedrichshafen
THERMOLAB:Ulm University
THERMOPROP:Ulm University
MAGNEPHAS:Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, Dresden
METCOMP:DLR Institute of Materials Physics in Space, Cologne
COOLCOP:DLR Institute of Materials Physics in Space, Cologne
Experiments in the Solidification and Quenching Furnace (SQF) and the Low Gradient Furnace (LGF) inside the Materials Science Laboratory (MSL), Destiny Module:
MICAST:DLR Institute of Materials Physics in Space, Cologne
Physical research
(in the FASES facility inside the Fluid Science Labor (FSL),
Columbus Module):
Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, Golm
(in the FASTER facility inside the European Drawer Rack (EDR), Columbus Module):
Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, Golm
(in the SODI facility - Selectable Optical Diagnostics Instrument - inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox, MSG, Columbus Module):
Bayreuth University
PK-4:installed by Alexander Gerst
Human physiology research
Cartilage:German Sport University Cologne
Circadian Rhythm:Charité Berlin
Skin-B:DermaTronnier, Witten-Herdecke University
Astrobiology research
DOSIS-3D:DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne
Triplelux-B:Technical University Berlin
BOSS:DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne
BIOMEX:DLR Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin-Adlershof
MagVector MFX:DLR Raumfahrtmanagement, DLR Space Administration, Airbus Defence & Space, ATZ-GmbH
WiSe-Net:Airbus Defence & Space, Bremen
SPACETEX:Hohenstein Institute, Schoeller Group, Charité Berlin, DLR
Vessel ID System:Defence Research Establishment FFI, Norway
Nightpod:Astro- und Feinwerktechnik Adlershof GmbH
SOLAR/SOLACES:Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM, Freiburg
Earth Guardian:DLR Space Administration
Columbus Eye:DLR Space Administration, Bonn University
The Bubbles experiment:DLR, ESA, Jugend forscht foundation
Flying Classroom:DLR Institute of Materials Physics in Space, Cologne
HAM Radio (ARISS):DLR Space Administration, NASA, German Amateur Radio-Club DARC

Alexander Gerst

Date of birth:3 May 1976
Place of birth:Künzelsau, Hohenlohe-Franken region (Baden-Wuerttemberg)
Hobbies:Mountain hiking, climbing, diving, parachuting, fencing, photography
Formal education:Ganerben Grammar School, Künzelsau, and Technical Grammar School, Öhringen near Heilbronn
Studies:Geophysics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Diploma) and Geosciences at Wellington University, New Zealand (Master)
Studies begun in::1998
PhD:May 2010, Institute of Geophysics at Hamburg University
Thesis:Eruption Dynamics of the Antarctic Volcano Mount Erebus
Career:Geophysicist and volcanologist: development of new scientific instruments for volcanological research at the Institute of Geophysics of Hamburg University (2004 to 2009)
Awards:DFG: Bernd Rendel Prize for outstanding research
Selection for the ESA astronaut corps:May 2009
Start of ESA training:1 September 2009
End of basic ESA training:22 November 2010
Nomination for ISS mission:22 September 2011
Start of mission preparations:September 2011

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