ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The news that Alexander has been assigned a new mission to the International Space Station was announced in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel by ESA Director General Jan Woerner at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany on 18 May.
Alexander will fulfil the role of commander during the second part of his six-month mission in 2018.
The European Astronaut Centre is a training facility and home base for all European astronauts. It is a centre of excellence for astronaut training and medical support.