On the day of launching into space on a Soyuz, astronauts go through a number of traditions. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst will be travelling to the International Space Station on the Soyuz MS-09 alongside NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos commander Sergei Prokopyev from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 6 June 2018.
After signing the door of the hotel they spend their last day on Earth before launch, they get into their Sokol pressure suits. A Russian orthodox priest blesses the astronauts and launcher as per tradition.
This will be Alexander’s second spaceflight, called Horizons. He will also be the second ESA astronaut to take over command of the International Space Station. The Horizons science programme is packed with European research: over 50 experiments will deliver benefits to people on Earth as well as prepare for future space exploration.