For the first time a German will be in command of the International Space Station.
ESA announced today that German Astronaut Alexander Gerst will be back at the ISS in 2018. He will be will the commander of the ISS during the second part of his six-month mission. 40-year-old Gerst has been already at the International Space Station back in 2014. He worked on the ISS for six months on his Blue Dot mission in 2014.
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“I am humbled by receiving the honor to command the International Space Station. This international sign of trust reflects ESA's reliability as a cooperation partner, and was made possible by the fantastic work of my European colleagues on their previous missions. I am delighted by the prospect of continuing the scientific work that has been conducted on the ISS for many years. I am particularly looking forward to contributing to one of humanity's greatest exploration adventures: discovering new horizons," Alexander Gerst said.
This is just the second time a European astronaut will be commander of the Station in the 15 years it has been occupied. The first European was Frank De Winne in 2009. Now heading the European Astronaut Center, Frank noted, “Alexander showed outstanding performance, high professionalism and excellent interaction skills during his Blue Dot mission. "
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Alexander Gerst joined the ESA astronaut corps in 2009 and was assigned his first mission in 2011. He was awarded Germany’s Order of Merit on return from his 166 days in space in 2014.