Complete crew
Science & Exploration

Halfway through Blue Dot mission

18/09/2014 4874 views 48 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Blue dot

Halfway through his six-month Blue Dot mission, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is sharing the International Space Station with only two colleagues: Maxim Suraev and Reid Wiseman.

The astronauts from Expedition 40 left the orbital outpost last week and landed safely back on Earth. Max, Alexander and Reid will have the Space Station to themselves until the next Soyuz spacecraft arrives on 25 September with NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore and cosmonauts Elena Serova and Alexander Samoukutyaev.

Robotics workstation
Robotics workstation

But the research work does not come to a halt during the two weeks the Station has a reduced crew.

On 22 September Alexander and Reid will use the robotic arm to grapple and berth the latest Dragon cargo vessel bringing supplies. They began preparing the workstation by routing cables and setting up controls in the six-window Cupola observatory. Alexander also collected items for return to Earth on the Dragon ferry.

International science

Alexander and Reid continue to collect inputs for ESA’s Energy experiment that charts precisely how many calories astronauts need in space. The duo took urine and water samples and prepared them for for analysis on Earth.

For Japan’s space agency, JAXA, Alexander worked on experiments on growing semiconductors in microgravity and how animal cells sense gravity.

Science in space
Access the video

Alexander continues to use his experience as a volunteer firefighter for NASA’s experiments burning fuel droplets. The results will improve our understanding of how fires behave in space and help to raise the fuel efficiency of engines on the ground.

Earlier this month, Alexander worked on MagVector, a European experiment investigating how Earth’s magnetic field interacts with electrical conductors. This research will not only help to improve future Space Station experiments and electrical experiments but it could also offer insights into how magnetic fields influence conductors in general – a backbone of terrestrial technology.

Space MacGyver

Sawing launch bolt
Sawing launch bolt

In his spare time, Alexander takes amazing images of our planet and continues to work on scientific experiments. The large Electromagnetic Levitator arrived at the Station on ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle in August but a bolt securing the hardware for launch was stuck. Alexander managed to saw the bolt out, cleverly using shaving foam to keep any metal debris from floating free. All in a day’s work for an astronaut.

Follow Alexander and his mission via http://alexandergerst.esa.int

Sandstorm over the Sahara
Sandstorm over the Sahara

Related Articles

Horizons logo
Science & Exploration

New Horizons for Alexander Gerst

29/05/2017 12505 views 134 likes
Open item
Alexander commander of ISS announcement
Science & Exploration

Alexander Gerst to be Space Station commander

18/05/2016 17021 views 87 likes
Open item
German President Gauck visits ESA in Darmstadt
Agency

German Head of State visits ESA Operations Centre

26/05/2014 2825 views 14 likes
Open item
HM Queen Beatrix and Italian President Napolitano at ESTEC
Agency

A royal and presidential visit to ESA’s technical heart

26/10/2012 1411 views 3 likes
Open item
Alexander Gerst back on Earth
Science & Exploration

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst returns to Earth

10/11/2014 18843 views 54 likes
Open item
Science & Exploration

Alexander’s rollercoaster ride from space to Germany

06/11/2014 9293 views 66 likes
Open item
Alexander testing spacesuit
Science & Exploration

Alexander Gerst set for spacewalk

03/10/2014 9873 views 61 likes
Open item
Complete crew
Science & Exploration

Halfway through Blue Dot mission

18/09/2014 4874 views 48 likes
Open item
Our blue dot
Science & Exploration

Blue Dot update

15/07/2014 3538 views 22 likes
Open item
Moonrise from space
Science & Exploration

Spot the Space Station looking at you

01/07/2014 16826 views 77 likes
Open item
Flying over Earth
Science & Exploration

Science and spacewalks on Space Station

20/06/2014 5281 views 65 likes
Open item
Alexander Gerst
Science & Exploration

Alexander’s first week in space

05/06/2014 7425 views 71 likes
Open item
Liftoff of Soyuz TMA-13M on 28 May 2014
Science & Exploration

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst arrives at Space Station

29/05/2014 6876 views 44 likes
Open item
Alexander Gerst
Science & Exploration

Expedition 40 all set to go

26/05/2014 5382 views 50 likes
Open item
Columbus Control Centre
Science & Exploration

Munich to Alexander: all systems go

22/05/2014 3732 views 42 likes
Open item
Final qualification exams for the Expedition 40/41 crew
Science & Exploration

Alexander Gerst ready for orbit

09/05/2014 1700 views 18 likes
Open item
Testing Sokol suit
Science & Exploration

Ask astronaut Alexander anything

11/03/2014 3412 views 35 likes
Open item
Alexander Gerst
Science & Exploration

Inside astronaut Alexander’s head

17/02/2014 5055 views 64 likes
Open item
Blue Dot mission logo
Science & Exploration

Announcing Blue Dot mission logo

22/09/2013 8615 views 70 likes
Open item

Related Links