. 24/7 Space News .
Liftoff as Alexander Gerst returns to space
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Jun 08, 2018

File image - Alexander Gerst

This week ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst was launched into space alongside NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor and Roscosmos commander Sergei Prokopyev in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The launch went as planned as the 50-m tall Soyuz rocket propelled the astronauts to their cruising speed of around 28 800 km/h. Within 10 minutes of rising from the pad, the trio travelled over 1640 km and gained 210 km altitude. Every second for nine minutes, their spacecraft accelerated 50 km/h on average.

The spacecraft is an improved model from the last time Alexander was launched into space in 2014 with many technological upgrades to make the spacecraft lighter and more modern. For example, halogen lights have been replaced with LEDs, and newer and larger solar panels increase power generation.

Over the next two days, while circling Earth 34 times, the trio will catch up with the International Space Station where they will spend the next six months. The journey is relatively smooth and quiet after the rigours of launch. With no Internet or satellite phones, the crew relies on radio to communicate at set intervals with ground control.

Docking with the weightless research outpost is planned for 8 June at 13:07 GMT (15:07 CEST).

The German astronaut is a returning visitor to the International Space Station, the first of ESA's 2009 class of astronauts to be sent into space for a second time. During the second part of his mission Alexander will take over as commander of the International Space Station, only the second time an ESA astronaut will take on this role so far. The next European to fly will be ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano taking over as commander in 2019.

The mission is called Horizons as a symbol for the unknown and what lies beyond - reflecting on ESA's strategy to extend human and robotic exploration beyond Earth orbit. Alexander will be testing ways of operating and working with robots to develop techniques required for further human and robotic exploration of our Solar System.

While in space, Alexander will work on over 50 European experiments. All experiments that are run on the Space Station are chosen because they could not be performed anywhere else. The permanent weightless laboratory allows for long-term studies with humans in microgravity and ESA's Columbus research module is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Alexander will be taking part in experiments that will look at how muscles and the brain react to living away from Earth, testing operations in space with hands-free astronaut-aids as well as investigating the inner workings of natural processes such as how metal alloys form and how atoms behave. Alexander will be loading experiment samples into facilities that he helped install during his last mission called Blue Dot in 2014.

Easier and continued access to humanity's micro-gravity laboratory for researchers has been secured with the installation of the first European commercial micro-gravity research service yesterday. For a fixed fee anybody can run an experiment inside the European space laboratory Columbus with ICE Cubes.

The international collaboration at the heart of the Space Station programme extends to the research conducted inside. One of Alexander's first scientific tasks during Horizons will be to collect samples for a Canadian experiment that is looking at how bone marrow reacts to spaceflight, during which an astronaut's bones are underused in weightlessness - findings from these studies are interesting for elderly and bedridden people on Earth who suffer from osteoporosis.

On Monday Alexander will setup the Grip experiment in Columbus and continue taking data for the European experiment that is looking at how the human brain adapts to situations where there is no up or down - the results will be helpful for designing prosthetic limbs on Earth.

Follow Alexander and the Horizons mission on social media and on the Horizons mission blog here

Related Links
Human Spaceflight at ESA
The latest information about the Commercial Satellite Industry

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Spain's first astronaut named science minister
Madrid (AFP) June 6, 2018
Spain's first astronaut Pedro Duque will be named minister of science by the new Socialist government, a party source told AFP on Wednesday. The 55-year-old aeronautical engineer became the first Spaniard to travel to space in 1998 when he took part in a nine-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery after training in Russia and the United States. He returned to space in 2003 as part of an International Space Station (ISS) mission. As science minister, he will also be in charge of prom ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

New crew blasts off for ISS

New crew blasts off for ISS

NASA Narrows Scope for Proposed Astrophysics Missions

NanoRacks Complete Barrios Protein Crystal Growth Operations on Space Station

Lockheed Martin Wins Potential $928 Million Contract to Develop New Hypersonic Missile for the Air Force

Commercial satellite launch service market to grow strongly through 2024

Arianespace and ISIS to launch small satellites on the Vega SSMS POC flight

Watch live: SpaceX to launch SES-12 communications satellite

Science Team Continues to Improve Opportunity's Use of the Robotic Arm

New data-mining technique offers most-vivid picture of Martian mineralogy

More building blocks of life found on Mars

Curiosity rover finds organic matter, unidentified methane source on Mars

China confirms reception of data from Gaofen-6 satellite

Beijing welcomes use of Chinese space station by all UN Nations

China upgrades spacecraft reentry and descent technology

China develops wireless systems for rockets

Iridium Continues to Attract World Class Maritime Service Providers for Iridium CertusS

The European Space Agency welcomes European Commission's proposal on space activities

Spain's first astronaut named science minister

Airbus-built SES-12 dual-mission satellite successfully launched

Supercomputer Astronomy: The Next Generation

Space Traffic Management - Oversight, Licensing And Enforcement

Firing up a new alloy

Large-scale and sustainable 3D printing with the most ubiquitous natural material

Searching for Potential Life-Hosting Planets Beyond Earth

Planets Can Easily Exist in Triple Star Systems

Sorry ET, Got Here First: Russian Scientist Suggests Humans Would Destroy Aliens

How microbes survive clean rooms and contaminate spacecraft

NASA Re-plans Juno's Jupiter Mission

New Horizons Wakes for Historic Kuiper Belt Flyby

Collective gravity, not Planet Nine, may explain the orbits of 'detached objects'

Scientists reveal the secrets behind Pluto's dunes

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.