ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst participates in a training session in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) at the Sonny Carter Training Facility near NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA. The training took place on 5 March 2018.
The spacewalk training session includes the donning of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuit on the pool deck and underwater operations. A liquid cooling and ventilation garment complements the EMU spacesuit.
Alexander will be launched on 6 June with US astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev from the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft.
The mission is called Horizons to evoke exploring our Universe, looking far beyond our planet and broadening our knowledge. His first mission was called Blue Dot. Alexander will take over command of the International Space Station for the second half of his mission. This is only the second time that a European astronaut will take up this leading position on the space outpost – the first was ESA astronaut Frank De Winne in 2009. Alexander Gerst is the 11th German citizen to fly into space.
The science programme is packed with European research: more than 50 experiments will deliver benefits to people back on Earth and prepare for future space exploration.