First German commander for humankind's outpost in space

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  • Der deutsche ESA%2dAstronaut Alexander Gerst
    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.

Since its inception, the International Space Station has been a symbol of international understanding and peaceful coexistence. Six astronauts from different nations live and work together on humanity's outpost in space approximately 400 kilometres above Earth, united by a major goal – to improve life on our planet. From early June 2018, Alexander Gerst will be one of these six astronauts. The German ESA astronaut will remain on the ISS for 187 days, and during the second half of his mission, he will lead this international space community as commander – similar to the captain of a ship. In this role, for the first time taken up by a German, he will be responsible for the safety of the crew, help to resolve conflicts, and work intensively with the flight director on the ground. In the event of an emergency, he will decide on the rescue measures to be taken – up to and including aborting the mission and returning to Earth prematurely.

In order to successfully master this high responsibility job, he has undergone intense training at the Yuri Gagarin Training Centre near Moscow and in the US space agency NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. But during his mission, Gerst will be more than a commander – he will also be a researcher, craftsman, 'port master' and teacher. Before he departs to the Space Station, his tasks will be defined and he will undergo the respective training; this will prepare him for knowing what to do in every experiment, how to check and, if necessary, change water circuits and valves, and how to dock cargo spacecraft. In addition, he has learned to provide inspiration to children and young people about space.

Last modified:
06/12/2018 11:26:24