Alexander Gerst returned to Earth safely in the early hours of 20 December 2018 after 197 days in space, 195 of them on board the International Space Station ISS. The Soyuz MS-09 touched down close to Karaganda in the Kazakh steppe right on schedule at 06:02 Central European Time.
Twenty years ago today, on 20 November 1998, a Russian Proton rocket took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and carried the first component of the International Space Station, the Zarya module (Zarya is Russian for sunrise), into Earth orbit. Sixteen days later, on 6 December 1998, the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour joined the Russian Zarya module together with the US Unity connecting node.
It is a small piece of cargo – not even half the size of a shoebox – but a group of students from Frankfurt are still tracking its progress with breathless anticipation. After all, the delivery address is none other than the International Space Station (ISS). The contents of the 10 x 10 x 15 centimetre container? An experiment that is set to be performed on the ISS.
On 15 November 2018 at 11:40 CET, the mission team in the Biotechnology Space Support Center (BIOTESC) at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts watched with baited breath. After two-and-a-half years of highly intensive preparations, as well as countless testing and training sessions with CIMON on Earth, you could hear a pin drop – there was an atmosphere of total concentration and thrilled anticipation.
Alexander Gerst will undoubtedly never forget 3 October 2018 – on the 'Day of German Unity', the 42-year old geophysicist and astronaut will be the first German and second European to become Commander of the International Space Station (ISS). The ceremony aboard the ISS will last from 04:10 to 16:30 CEST and be broadcast live on the Internet by NASA and ESA.
The German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has been orbiting Earth on board the International Space Station (ISS) since 8 June 2018. Gerst, the NASA astronaut Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor and the Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev have all sorts of scientific experiments to conduct.
On 25 September 2018, Matthias Maurer graduated as an astronaut – an accolade granted following basic cosmonaut training – thereby receiving formal approval for a flight into space.
Its view of Earth will be something special: The DESIS hyperspectral instrument has 235 spectral channels to look at our planet and observe the changes in land and water surfaces. On 27 August 2018 at about 21:00 CEST, the instrument developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and equipped with a robotic arm was taken out of the airlock of the International Space Station (ISS) and installed on the MUSES platform located on the space station's exterior.
Alexander Gerst pauses. Smoke is rising from the satellite receiving system that he is in the process of building with the help of his robotic avatar on Mars. Now it is a matter of acting quickly and decisively, for the sake of human and machine alike. The simulation of an emergency is the most critical part of the latest telerobotics experiment at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), whereby an astronaut on board the International Space Station (ISS) uses a tablet to remotely control the humanoid robot Rollin' Justin in Oberpfaffenhofen.
The German ESA astronaut, Alexander Gerst, has now been living and working on the International Space Station ISS for around two months. While some horizons mission experiments involving the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have yet to commence, other trials are already delivering scientific results, such as the MagVector/MFX-2 planetary simulator and FLUMIAS cell biology microscope.
A new 'cyber colleague' is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) to join German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst. 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.
On board the International Space Station (ISS), the German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and the other crewmembers of expedition 56/57 have begun working on the first experiments in the European Columbus research module. These include the Myotones experiment, which will examine Gerst's skeletal musculature.
Update: On 8 June 2018 at 17:17 CEST, the hatch was opened and Alexander Gerst and the two other crew members of ISS Expedition 56-57 exited the Soyuz spacecraft and entered the International Space Station ISS. This is Gerst's second mission to the space station, where he will live and work for six months.
Astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) use the Columbus research laboratory to conduct numerous experiments for researchers around the world. The Columbus Control Centre (Col-CC) in the German Space Operations Center (GSOC), which is located at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) site in Oberpfaffenhofen.
How can artificial intelligence (AI) help astronauts do their work in space, and what can be learned for its application on Earth? How do living cells behave in a microgravity environment? What does an extended period in space do to an astronaut's immune system?
Space research, courtesy of schoolchildren: this and other experiments for the horizons mission of the German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst are now en route to the International Space Station (ISS). The experiments are being carried by a Cygnus transporter on board an Antares rocket that took off from Wallops Island, Virginia (United States) at 10:44 CEST (04:44 local time) on 21 May 2018, bound for the ISS, where it will dock on 24 May.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the United States corporation Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE) are announcing the completion of the development and manufacturing process of the DESIS hardware.
The first experiments to be conducted as part of the horizons mission with German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst are on their way to the International Space Station (ISS). At 22:30 CEST on 2 April 2018 (16:30 local time), a Falcon 9 launcher with a US Dragon capsule lifted off from the Cape Canaveral spaceport in Florida, bound for the ISS.
The Crew Interactive MObile companioN (CIMON) is able to see, hear, understand, speak – and fly. It is roughly spherical, has a diameter of 32 centimetres and weighs five kilograms. Its robotic predecessor was Professor Simon Wright's 'flying brain', with sensors, cameras and a speech processor in the 1978 cartoon series, 'Captain Future'.
Relief was evident at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in Bonn, and at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (MPIO) in Radolfzell on Lake Constance. A Russian Soyuz 2-1A launcher and a Progress cargo spacecraft carrying the antenna block for the German-Russian project ICARUS (International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space) set off for the International Space Station (ISS), which orbits Earth at an altitude of 400 kilometres.