American country music penetrates through the communication system of Matt Kowalski and brings a little earthly normality in the incredible Scenery unfolding in front of him and his colleague Dr. Ryan Stone. Both are part of the space mission, STS-157, and carry out, especially in the field of repair work on the Hubble space telescope. Your gaze wanders inevitably to the big blue planet before them. “Now that Is a unbeatable view. What do you like best, Stone?“ – “The Silence.”

The sight of the disaster with offers of Kowalski and Stone in space Thriller “Gravity” before the outbreak, is described by each of the astronauts as one of the most touching moments of your life. Since then, the European space Agency (ESA) has launched the first astronaut training program in 1978, wanted to be a total of nearly 40,000 aspirants to be part of a space mission. For the German Alexander Gerst, this dream was fulfilled in may 2014. And in 2018 again.

As the third German on Board the ISS

in 2008, Alexander is applying Gerst as one of the total 8.413 aspirants for the third astronaut training programme of the ESA. The tall graduate geophysicists and geoscientists from Künzelsau is on 20. May 2009 after one year of selection procedures as one of six candidates for the ESA astronaut corps will be selected. All preparations went according to Plan, and so began for him at 28. May 2014 at 21.56 hrs (Central European time) in Baikonur (Kazakhstan) the most extraordinary and longest journey of his life.

Together with his Russian colleague Maxim Viktorovich and the Americans Gregory Reid Wiseman was Gerst up to 10. November 2014 part of the ISS Expedition 40, the 40. Long-term crew of the International space station. So he is working, after Thomas Reiter and Hans Schlegel, the third German, the life is ever on the ISS, and the research was allowed. But until then, it’s been a hard road – peppered by a myriad of technical, physical and mental exams …

Not everyone is suitable for an Expedition into space

anyone Who works in the International space station ISS – the largest artificial object in earth orbit–, is one of the best of the Best: Only with excellent scientific and technical knowledge, as well as in the hair – and Nerve-centres, well-trained body and mind, can be a spaceman its immense responsibilities.

in Addition, the crew members are in addition to the actual trip into space already during their preparatory training for a long time away from family, friends and home – a not insignificant mental stress, not the powers-consuming Training.

what is it Like living in space?

7.30 a.m.: The alarm clock rings. Careful, the Astronaut takes off his wall-anchored sleeping bag. Without this device he would have brought in at night, some blue patches of rough collisions with the environment. The reason for this is the lack of gravity.

The monotonous noise of the fan sneaks back in to his consciousness – and the Knowledge that he would suffocate without these at night on their own exhaled carbon dioxide. In microgravity there is no natural circulation of air and would collect the face of a kind of bubble of exhaled carbon dioxide. In the best case, the Astronaut wakes up on time with a throbbing headache and a parched throat by itself.

everyday life in zero gravity

His clothes? To he has already. Every three days, astronauts do not change the disposable clothes, a washing machine, there is. Also, the daily going to the toilet plays a little differently than on earth: Without a fixed buckle belt and a vacuum cleaner principle, it would be pretty fast, pretty ugly. Must wash our Astronaut with a wet towel, because water is also on the ISS is a precious resource.

For Breakfast there are all Sorts of cans, tubes and plastic bags – the main thing is not to float it. That one tastes the food, hardly a bother. Without gravity, the water in our bodies shifts. We have the impression to constantly have a runny nose and can no longer taste so good. Due to the redistribution of blood, the taste thresholds in addition to buds on the tongue and mucous membranes in the throat and the nose, which dulls the senses of smell and taste also.

Run, Tinker, research

a Day, two hours in the gym on the treadmill or Bicycle on the ISS have a duty to prevent degradation of the muscles. These are claimed in the absence of gravity very low and so it comes temporarily to a bone, and muscle wasting. The majority of the day is for our astronauts but, from the maintenance and implementation of various research projects, experiments and, where appropriate, outboard inserts – the actual reasons of its Mission.

After four years of training marathon for the “Ignition”

As on 1. In September 2009, the “Basic Training” for Alexander begins Gerst at the European astronaut centre (EAC) in Cologne, he stands at the beginning of a long chain of tests. Four and a half years and three major blocks of Training later, he has not only mastered the systems on Board the ISS in his sleep, he has also played in the flight to the space station and back more than once, it is optimally prepared for emergencies, in the 120-kilogram space suit in a dive countless basin outboard inserts in All simulated his body to extreme forces in the centrifuge will be exposed and its two Crew members, intense met – even under the most extreme conditions in the minus 30 degree cold Siberian forest without a tent.

the man of The hour

On the 17. In March 2014, Alexander Gerst, in a press conference, the EAC via video transmission from Houston to the burning questions of the journalists and to answer questions. With shining eyes, an unwavering patience, and easy-to-understand words, he answered an hour long-both General questions (“Are you excited?”), as well as more concrete (“What are your exact duties on the ISS?”). And to get the latter back: What actually belongs to the ISS-Expedition 40?

“We have on our Expedition 162 experiments on Board, we are going to perform. There are some that are entirely new. For example, the European, electromagnetic Levitator, a study of melting furnace for new alloys. This is a new Experiment, where we investigate the physical characteristics of future alloys, which we then perhaps ten years later, in car engines or aircraft engines, see. However, we can also help experiments on Board, which we carry out in long time series and where it goes, for example, about how we can bone loss a better understanding of [ … ], and affected people.“ The conditions on the ISS are just for the long-term experiment, the bone loss is ideal, because the astronauts have to do during your stay, even temporarily, and your bones back to form.

One thing you can feel quite clearly, if you listen to Gerst on the big screen of the press conference to see and talk to this man what is referred to as the discoverer-Gen is rooted, very deeply. His enthusiasm he exudes during the 55 minutes, and it’s fun for him to listen, how to communicate as much as possible of his Mission, and the people in it have to let.

2018 flew @Astro_Alex again to All

While Alexander returned Gerst on 10. November 2014 back to the earth – but not really long, it keeps him on his home planet. 2018 flew Gerst back to All fly. This time he actually took over command of the ISS and writes German space history. Never before has this honor been given to a German astronaut.

The “pop star among the astronauts,” a celebrated geophysicist, spent six months in November 2018, a total of six months on the International space station, ISS, three of them as a commander.

This article was written by Corinna Trube In the PCP In the

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