ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen will fly to the Space Station as part of Crew-7, piloting of SpaceX's Crew Dragon and will become the International Space Station crew commander during Expedition 70.
Andreas would become the longest serving European ISS commander after arriving in August. He will be commander of Earth's orbiting outpost for five months, until he returns home in early 2024. Andreas will take over from Roscosmos astronaut Sergey Prokopyev, who has been in command since 12 October 2022 who took over the commanding role from ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.
"It is a big honour for me to be the next commander of the International Space Station. I look forward to taking on the responsibilities and ensure a great stay for all crew members during expedition 70." says Andreas.
Besides Andreas's crew members from Crew-7, Expedition 70 is set to have NASA astronaut Loral O'Hara, Roscosmos astronauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub onboard, with more arriving later.
Handing over the key
The change in command of the Space Station happens a few days before the commander leaves for Earth and is marked by a traditional ceremony. All crew members gather as the departing commander gives a speech about their commandership and hands over the symbolic key of the Space Station to the next commander, who says a few words about their new responsibilities.
As the commander of the Space Station, Andreas will have to ensure the safety, good health and well-being of the Space Station's crew while directing the crew as one team. He will also work with the flight director on ground, on the activities and operations on the Space Station.
"It is great to see that Andreas will be the next commander on the International Space Station. It is a testament to Andreas's hard work and together with being a pilot on Crew Dragon, I look forward to seeing Andreas go to new heights on his Huginn mission." says Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General.
The ones who came before
The International Space Station has had a commander since the first expedition in October 2000. NASA astronaut William Shephard was the first commander. Since then, there have been 73 commanders of the Space Station, with some astronauts taking the commander role multiple times. Andreas will follow in the footsteps of former European commanders Samantha Cristoforetti, Thomas Pesquet, Luca Parmitano, Alexander Gerst and Frank De Winne.
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