Alexander Gerst, Horizons missionAstronaut TrainingGerst Alexander (Germany)Astronaut Portraits

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst training at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory

Credits: ESA - S. Corvaja

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ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is training together with NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in the Sonny Carter training facility near the Johnson Space Center in Houston on the 5th of March 2018. Alexander and Serena are training for ISS EVA Maintenance 9 PRF in preparation for Soyuz flight MS-09, which will be the ESA Astronaut's second flight. In these images you will see the two astronauts with their liquid cooling ventilation garments (LCVG – space suit cooling long underwear), the pre-test briefing with all the divers and the test team in the Test Centre room. Also shown are the suit up, the donning of the Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) on the pool deck, the suited operations in the water for Astros with images from above pool and from the control room, and the final doffing of the EMUs. Alexander will be launched on 6 June with US astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev from the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. Soyuz MS-09 will be the 138th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft. The mission is called Horizons to evoke exploring our Universe, looking far beyond our planet and broadening our knowledge. His first mission was called Blue Dot. Alexander will take over command of the International Space Station for the second half of his mission. This is only the second time that a European astronaut will take up this leading position on the space outpost – the first was ESA astronaut Frank De Winne in 2009. Alexander Gerst is the 11th German citizen to fly into space. The astronaut is now in the last stages of training for his challenging mission. The science programme is packed with European research: more than 50 experiments will deliver benefits to people back on Earth and prepare for future space exploration.

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European Astronaut Corps