Inside Astronaut Alex’s head

18 February 2014
The clock is ticking… in 100 days ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst will be launched to the International Space Station together with NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and Cosmonaut Maxim Surayev.
Strapped on top of 274 tonnes of rocket propellant, they will travel at 28 000 km/h and will arrive at the ISS in less than seven hours. The launch will mark the start of Alexander’s Blue Dot mission.

Based at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, he has been training for his mission since 2011. His space adventure has taken him to Canada, USA, Japan and Russia to train with robots, spacecraft, hypergravity and survival techniques.

Now Alex is inviting you to follow his training and understand the life of an astronaut by reading his personal blog. In his blog he explains why he needs skills in science, engineering and medicine, as well as orbital mechanics, flying and Russian!
Alexander is a volcanologist, and is fascinated by the unknown and by exploration. He chose the theme “shaping the future” for his Blue Dot mission.

“Human spaceflight not only gives us a unique perspective to better understand the planet on which we live, but also who we are. We are a species of explorers, and we are shaping our own future.”

His mission will include lots of experiments, including educational ones involving moving soap bubbles with sound.

Alexander is the 14th ESA astronaut to fly to space, and he will be the third German astronaut to live on the ISS.

Join Alexander on his blog during the run-up to his launch in May, and find out why astronauts train to “be scientists, janitors, drivers, cleaners, doctors, firefighters, engineers and guinea pigs”!


 •  Astronaut training (
 •  ESA selects six of the best (
 •  International flights (
 •  Training at the European Astronaut Centre (
 •  Would you like to be an astronaut? (
 •  ESA Astronauts (
 •  Weightless science (
 •  Life after space (