ESA astronauts Alexander Gerst (left), Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA astronaut Terry Virts (center in blue) during training at JAXA’s Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC), Japan, on 3 March 2014.
As part of the International Space Station project, the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Kibo was developed and tested at TKSC. At Tsukuba the astronauts training covers experiments which take place inside the JEM.
Alexander Gerst is flight engineer for Expedition 40/41, which will be launched to the International Space Station in May 2014 on a long-duration mission to run science experiments and maintain humankind’s space base.
Samantha Cristoforetti is assigned to fly on the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft to the International Space Station, scheduled for November 2014 and as part of Expedition 42/43.