It will be historical moment for ESA and DLR. Alexander Gerst (ESA, DLR) was designated as International Space Station commander for three months of 2018.
News was announced today by ESA Director General Jan Woerner at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne. It is great moment in history of European space program and in history of DLR. Alexander Gerst will be second ISS commander from ESA since beginning of the Station. First was Frank De Winne, Belgian astronaut who led crew of the ISS during Expedition 21 from 30 October 2009 to 1 December 2009. Alexander Gerst will take command of International Space Station on August 2018 and will remain Commander until end of Expedition 56/57 in November 2018. Alexander Gerst expressed his joy and honor in official statement:
“I am humbled by receiving the honour to command the International Space Station. This international sign of trust reflects ESA's reliability as a cooperation partner, and was made possible by the fantastic work of my European colleagues on their previous missions. I am delighted by the prospect of continuing the scientific work that has been conducted on the ISS for many years. I am particularly looking forward to contributing to one of humanity's greatest exploration adventures: discovering new horizons."
Alexander Gerst was born 3 May 1976 in Künzelsau, Baden-Württemberg in Germany. He studied geophysics and achieved degree at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; he also studied earth science at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand where he received Master of Science. Next he was continuing career as researcher since 2005 at the Institute of Geophysics of the University of Hamburg where in 2010 he was awarded with doctorate. He became member of European Astronaut Corps in 2009. His first and last space mission until now was mission of the Soyuz TMA-13M as flight engineer and contribution in Expedition 40/41 on 28 May 2014 to 10 November 2014.
Congratulations Herr Doktor Gerst!