Space (2019 | Issue 1)

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Meet the social media darling German European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst. Known as @Astro_Alex on Twitter, he has spent 364 days in space—the most any European astronaut has to date. His amazing photographs, deep love for our home planet and live transmissions from space make him truly special. What’s Up, Germany? presents a real treat: Alexander Gerst’s view from space. Breathtaking, fascinating and authentic! Enjoy!

Astro Alex’s interest in the environment and exploration of the unknown made him choose a career in volcanology and geophysics. He didn’t really think his chances of becoming an astronaut were very high when he applied for the job, but his dream came true in 2009. He was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA). Gerst worked hard and trained long before being sent on two missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

MISSION ONE

Blue Dot: Shaping the Future (Expeditions 40/41) May–November 2014

During this six-month mission, Alex served as flight engineer. He is the third German astronaut to have lived and worked on the ISS. Apart from conducting a variety of scientific experiments, he shared an astronaut’s perspective of Earth, showing us how beautiful and fragile our planet is.

Here's to planet Earth!

Here’s to planet Earth!

Image: © dpa


@Astro_Alex on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall · 9 Nov 2014

Hello Berlin, I don’t see any borders from up here!

Gerst works on the ISS during his Blue Dot Mission

Gerst works on the ISS during his Blue Dot Mission

Image: © dpa

Alex takes snapshots of Earth from the ISS

Alex takes snapshots of Earth from the ISS

Image: © NASA

A Sandstorm over the Sahara desert in Africa

A Sandstorm over the Sahara desert in Africa

Image: © ESA/NASA


@Astro_Alex · 29 Aug 2014

Words can’t describe how it feels flying through an #aurora. I wouldn’t even know where to begin…

An Aurora caught on camera

An Aurora caught on camera

Image: © dpa

MISSION TWO

Horizons: Knowledge for Tomorrow (Expeditions 56/57) June–December 2018

Gerst was back in space to broaden horizons in science and space exploration during his second mission. Expedition 56 saw him serve as flight engineer on the ISS. He took over as commander for Expedition 57, making him the first German to take command of the ISS. Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst took off in a Soyuz MS-09 on 6th June 2018 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. They arrived on the ISS on 8th June and spent the next six months working aboard the orbiting laboratory, conducting 65 scientific experiments and even controlling a robot on Earth from outer space! The trio circled our planet 3,152 times and travelled about 134 million kilometers over their 197-day mission.

Getting ready for space! Alex’s spacesuit is being filled with oxygen

Getting ready for space! Alex’s spacesuit is being filled with oxygen

Image: © dpa

Three is Company

Three is Company

Image: © dpa

Lift-off!

Lift-off!

Image: picture alliance/ZUMA Press

Fare Thee Well

Fare Thee Well

Image: picture alliance/Alexei Fillipov/TASS/dpa