ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst returned to Star City, Moscow, this week where he attended a traditional welcome home ceremony alongside NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev at the Yuri Gagarin Training Center (GCTC).
Held on Tuesday 12 February, almost two months after the trio’s return from the International Space Station on 20 December 2018, the ceremony saw Alexander, Sergei and Serena lay flowers at the monument of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and receive gifts from friends and colleagues in Russia.
It was the first time such a ceremony had been attended by two ambassadors from partner countries. German ambassador Russia Rüdiger von Fritsch and American ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr were both in attendance.
The crew was also greeted by Roscosmos deputy director for human spaceflight Boris Shishkov, GCTC head of center Pavel Vlasov, his first deputy cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, newly-elected director general of RSC Energia Nikolai Sevastyanov and officials from regional government.
As the crew of Expedition 56/57, Alexander, Sergei and Serena spent 197 days in space.