Raumfahrt - Alexander Gerst: ESA ISS Mission Horizons -Update-5



Deep Space Navigation: Tool Tested as Emergency Navigation Device


A tool that has helped guide sailors across oceans for centuries is now being tested aboard the International Space Station as a potential emergency navigation tool for guiding future spacecraft across the cosmos. The Sextant Navigation investigation tests use of a hand-held sextant aboard the space station.


Sextants have a small telescope-like optical sight to take precise angle measurements between pairs of stars from land or sea, enabling navigation without computer assistance. Sextants have been used by sailors for centuries, and NASA’s Gemini missions conducted the first sextant sightings from a spacecraft. Designers built a sextant into Apollo vehicles as a navigation backup in the event the crew lost communications from their spacecraft, and Jim Lovell demonstrated on Apollo 8 that sextant navigation could return a space vehicle home. Astronauts conducted additional sextant experiments on Skylab.


NASA astronaut Alexander Gerst learns how to use a sextant. “I learned how to navigate after the stars using a sextant,” said Gerst. “It’s actually a test for a backup nav method for #Orion & future deep space missions.”
Credits: NASA
Jim Lovell demonstrated on Apollo 8 that sextant navigation could return a space vehicle home.
Credits: NASA

“The basic concepts are very similar to how it would be used on Earth,” says principal investigator Greg Holt. “But particular challenges on a spacecraft are the logistics; you need to be able to take a stable sighting through a window. We’re asking the crew to evaluate some ideas we have on how to accomplish that and to give us feedback and perhaps new ideas for how to get a stable, clean sight. That’s something we just can’t test on the ground.”


The investigation tests specific techniques, focusing on stability, for possibly using a sextant for emergency navigation on space vehicles such as Orion. With the right techniques, crews can use the tool to navigate their way home based on angles between the moon or planets and stars, even if communications and computers become compromised.


“No need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to celestial navigation,” Holt says. “We want a robust, mechanical back-up with as few parts and as little need for power as possible to get you back home safely. Now that we plan to go farther into space than ever before, crews need the capability to navigate autonomously in the event of lost communication with the ground.”


Early explorers put a lot of effort into refining sextants to be compact and relatively easy to use. The tool’s operational simplicity and spaceflight heritage make it a good candidate for further investigation as backup navigation.


For daily updates on the science happening aboard the space station, follow @ISS_ResearchSpace Station Research and Technology News, or our Facebook. For opportunities to see the space station pass over your town, check out Spot the Station.


 Quelle: NASA


Update: 3.10.2018


Guten Morgen zum Tag der ! Heute gegen 14.30h wird der deutsche -Astronaut live aus dem All zum in schalten! Er wird zudem erstmals das Kommando der übernehmen! Stay tuned cc


Quelle: ESA




„Es ist natürlich eine große Ehre für mich, aber auch eine sehr große Verantwortung“, sagt Gerst zur neuen Aufgabe


Der ESA-Astronaut Alexander Gerst (42) hat heute das Kommando auf der Internationalen Raumstation (ISS) übernommen. Damit ist er der erste deutsche Chef im Weltall. Gerst war Anfang Juni zur ISS geflogen und wird Mitte Dezember zurück zur Erde kommen.

Die Kommando-Übergabe fand in einer kurzen Zeremonie auf der ISS statt, der „Change of Command-Ceremony“. US-Astronaut Andrew Feustel hatte vor Gerst das Sagen auf der ISS. 

Alex Gerst hat als Kommandant auf der Raumstation eine Reihe von Aufgaben. Im Gespräch mit BILD hatte er sie vor seinem Start erläutert: „Ich muss darauf achten, dass es der gesamten Crew gut geht, das sind sechs Leute. Es ist wichtig, dass niemand überlastet ist, dass die Stimmung an Bord passt und die Kommunikation zur Bodenstation funktioniert. In Notfall-Situationen muss ich als Kommandant Befehle geben.

Im Weltraum-Alltag haben wir eine eher flache Hierarchie da oben, aber sobald etwas schief geht, dann muss ich die Crew koordinieren. Meine wichtigste Aufgabe ist es, zuerst das Leben der Crew zu retten, und dann die Raumstation vor Schäden zu bewahren.“


Die drei großen Notfälle, die der Crew dort oben sehr gefährlich werden können sind ein Feuer, ein Loch in der Außenhaut der Raumstation durch herumfliegenden Weltraumschrott oder ein Leck im Kühlsystem, durch das Ammoniak in die Station gelangt. Letzteres ist extrem gefährlich, weil Ammoniak sehr giftig ist. Bisher gab es noch keinen großen Notfall auf der ISS.

Stolz macht Gerst die Aufgabe auch: „Es ist natürlich eine große Ehre für mich, aber auch eine sehr große Verantwortung. Ich bekomme damit das Kommando über die komplexeste Maschine, die die Menschheit je gebaut hat. Das will ich gut machen.“

Quelle: BILD


Update: 4.10.2018


U.S., German Astronauts Swapping Command Before Homecoming


Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel (left) of NASA will hand over command of the station to German astronaut Alexander Gerst of ESA.

A NASA astronaut will swap command of the International Space Station with a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Wednesday at 10:10 a.m. live on NASA TV. Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustelwill be handing the station “keys” over to German astronaut Alexander Gerst during the traditional change of command ceremony.

Expedition 57 officially starts Thursday at 3:57 a.m. EDT when Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold undock in the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft commanded by cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev. Gerst, ESA’s second astronaut to command the station, is remaining onboard to lead Expedition 57 Flight Engineers Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Sergey Prokopyev. The homebound trio will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 7:45 a.m. (5:45 p.m. Kazakhstan time) just two orbits after undocking and 197 days in space.

Astronaut Nick Hague from NASA’s astronaut class of 2014 and veteran station cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin will be the next crew to blast off to the space station. The duo will launch Oct. 11 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and take a six hour ride to their new home in space.

Amidst the crew departure activities today the station residents also worked space science and lab maintenance. Auñón-Chancellor worked on botany research inside the Plant Habitat located in the Columbus lab module. Gerst worked on hardware for the mobiPV study that is researching ways to increase productivity between astronauts and mission controllers. Departing astronauts Arnold and Feustel cleaned up their crew quarters.

Quelle: NASA
Update: 11.10.2018
Alexander Gerst:

Glad our friends are fine. Thanks to the rescue force of >1000 SAR professionals! Today showed again what an amazing vehicle the is, to be able to safe the crew from such a failure. Spaceflight is hard. And we must keep trying for the benefit of humankind.


This morning's launch failure was captured on camera from the ISS by .


Dieses Bild der beiden Raumfahrer aus Russland und USA, die heute im -Raumschiff saßen, braucht - glaub' ich - keine weitere Erklärung.

Quelle: DLR 
Quelle: ESA
Update: 19.10.2018


Hands on the life support system
17 October 2018

Last week saw the installation of ESA’s next-generation life-support system on the International Space Station. The new facility recycles carbon dioxide in the air into water that can then be converted into oxygen reducing supplies sent from Earth by half.

Installing the life support rack in NASA’s Destiny laboratory is no easy task as the facility is larger than a human being and weighs over 650 kg on Earth. In addition many cables and pipes need to be connected to the Station’s infrastructure – including a pipe that vents waste methane from the recycling process directly into space.

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst set up the air and water drawer of the facility, including part of the Sabatier reactor on 10 September but was given an extra helping hand from ground control with an operational aid called the ‘mobile procedure viewer’ or mobiPV.

Usually an astronaut would have a computer nearby with step-by-step instructions to follow, but anybody who has tried repairing their car or even assembling furniture will agree this way of working has room for improvement – laying down tools to consult instructions is time-consuming and interrupts the work flow.

ESA’s solution to this problem sees astronauts wearing a smartphone on their wrist that connects to the Space Station’s procedure library and shows the instructions on-screen. Alexander could concentrate on the work at hand, without going back and forth to the computer.

A helping hand

Three sites in Germany were all connected and had full awareness of the installation as Alexander progressed step-by-step: the Columbus Control Centre near Munich, the European Astronaut Centre near Cologne and the facilities’ manufacturer Airbus in Friedrichshafen.

The mobile procedure viewer might seem simple but space operations allow little room for error and overcome technological challenges.

As the Space Station orbits Earth it loses radio contact for periods of up to eight minutes at a time. Alexander continued working during the periodic loss of signal but once communications were reestablished, mobiPV automatically and quickly brought all four teams up to speed.

Installing Advanced Close Loop System

Alexander worked efficiently with support from experts on ground throughout installation commenting during the experiment: “Great work to the whole development team. I did the whole procedure off mobiPV and it worked even better than I expected.”

David Martínez, lead ESA engineer for MobiPV comments "It was a great day to see our product work so well to help an astronaut install such complex hardware in space, making his life easier and also doing our part for future exploration."

As humans venture farther from Earth such as to a lunar gateway, life-support and communication with ground control will only become more challenging but last week’s operations on the Space Station are paving the way for exploration of our Solar System where greater autonomy and hands-free operations are important for planetary operations

Quelle: ESA


Update: 4.11.2018


Experience High-Res Science in First 8K Footage from Space

Science gets scaled up with the first 8K ultra high definition (UHD) video from the International Space Station. Get closer to the in-space experience and see how the international partnership-powered human spaceflight is improving lives on Earth, while enabling humanity to explore the universe.
Credits: NASA

Fans of science in space now can experience fast-moving footage in even higher definition as NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) deliver the first 8K ultra high definition (UHD) video of astronauts living, working and conducting research from the International Space Station. The same engineers who sent high-definition (HD) cameras, 3D cameras, and a camera capable of recording 4K footage to the space station now have delivered a new camera capable of recording images with four times the resolution than previously offered.


The Helium 8K camera by RED, a digital cinema company, is capable of shooting at resolutions ranging from conventional HDTV up to 8K, specifically 8192 x 4320 pixels. By comparison, the average HD consumer television displays up to 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution, and digital cinemas typically project in resolutions of 2K to 4K.


“This new footage showcases the story of human spaceflight in more vivid detail than ever before,” said Dylan Mathis, communications manager for the International Space Station Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “The world of camera technology continues to progress, and seeing our planet in high fidelity is always welcome. We're excited to see what imagery comes down in the future.”


Viewers can watch as crew members advance DNA sequencing in space with the BEST investigation, study dynamic forces between sediment particles with BCAT-CS, learn about genetic differences in space-grown and Earth-grown plants with Plant Habitat-1, observe low-speed water jets to improve combustion processes within engines with Atomization; and explore station facilities such as the MELFI, the Plant Habitat, the Life Support Rack, the JEM Airlock and the Canadarm2.


While the 4K camera brought beautiful footage of fluid behavior in the space station’s microgravity environment to the world, the new 8K video takes viewers through a variety of experiments and facilities aboard the orbiting outpost, which on Friday, Nov. 2 will celebrate the 18th anniversary of humans living continuously aboard and the 20th anniversary of the launch of the first two space station elements on Nov. 20 and Dec. 4, 1998, respectively.  


Delivered to the station in April aboard the 14th SpaceX cargo resupply mission through a Space Act Agreement between NASA and RED, this camera’s ability to record twice the pixels and at resolutions four times higher than the 4K camera brings science in orbit into the homes, laboratories and classrooms of everyone on Earth. 


“We’re excited to embrace new technology that improves our ability to engage our audiences in space station research,” said David Brady, assistant program scientist for the International Space Station Program Science Office at Johnson. “Each improvement in imagery fidelity brings that person on Earth closer to the in-space experience, allowing them to see what human spaceflight is doing to improve their life, as well as enable humanity to explore the universe.”


The RED camera is the same brand used to record theatrical releases such as The Hobbit trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, and television programs such as, Stranger Things, Maniac, and Lost in Space.  


NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold does some filming on the International Space Station Oct. 3, 3018, with a Helium 8K camera, made by the digital cinema company RED.
Credits: NASA
Viewers can watch high-resolution footage from inside and outside the orbiting laboratory right on their computer screens. A screen capable of displaying 8K resolution is required for the full effect, but the imagery is shot at a higher fidelity and then down-converted, which results in higher-quality playback, even for viewers who do not have an 8K screen.    
Quelle: NASA
Update: 10.11.2018

Astronaut Basks in Earth's 'Glory' Rainbow from Space Station (Photo)


European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst captured the space station's view of an atmospheric phenomenon called a glory on Sept. 14, 2018.

Credit: ESA/NASA

European astronaut Alexander Gerst was surprised to see a circular, rainbow-like gleam — a phenomenon known as a glory — in the clouds below the International Space Station on Sept. 14, 2018.

He snapped a couple photos of the colorful glow, posting the shots to Twitter on Tuesday (Nov. 6). In a statement, the European Space Agency (ESA) explained the rarity of a glory, which results from sunlight bouncing off droplets of water in a particular way.

Because the phenomenon relies on specific atmospheric conditions, it's most commonly reported at relatively high altitudes by mountain climbers and pilots, but not usually quite as high as the space station. While they're living in the orbiting laboratory, astronauts are about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth's surface.




ESA didn't provide any additional details about how a glory could form so high up, but Gerst's image could prompt deeper investigations.

"Sometimes, a simple photograph can spark scientific investigation or even full-blown scientific research," the ESA statement said. "Alexander's pictures of aurora[s] from his last mission in 2014 are adding extra information for researchers analyzing these beautiful atmospheric displays of light."

Analysis aside, let's all take a moment to glory in the beauty of this atmospheric phenomenon.

Quelle: SC


Update: 18.11.2018




Das Experiment Cimon, kurz für Crew Interactive Mobile CompanioN, wurde entwickelt, um die Interaktion zwischen Mensch und Maschine im All zu testen. Im Auftrag des DLR ist Airbus in Friedrichhafen und Bremen für Entwicklung und Bau von Cimon zuständig. Für die wissenschaftlichen Aspekte des Projekts ist das Klinikum der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) verantwortlich. Cimon verwendet auch die cloudbasierte Künstliche-Intelligenz (KI) Software IBM Watson.

Cimon wiegt etwa 5 Kilogramm und besitzt ein Display. Mithilfe des Technologieexperiments soll die Arbeit von Astronautinnen und Astronauten unterstützt und Effizienz gesteigert werden. Hierzu werden Informationen, die für die Durchführung wissenschaftlicher Experimente und Reparaturen benötigt werden, auf Cimons Bildschirm angezeigt und erläutert.

Das Experiment Cimon kann darüber hinaus mobil Fotos und Videos aufnehmen,  Experimente dokumentieren, Objekte suchen und Inventar führen. Cimon kann sehen, hören und verstehen, was es beobachtet. Der  Technologiedemonstrator ist zudem mit einem autonomen Navigationssystem ausgestattet, sodass Alexander Gerst Sprachbefehle geben kann, ähnlich wie bei den bekannten virtuellen Assistenten Alexa, Siri oder Cortana.

Nachdem Alexander am Donnerstag, den 15. November, auf der Internationalen Raumstation ISS Cimon aus seiner Box nahm, erweckte er das Experiment mit den Worten „Wach auf, Cimon!“. Cimon antwortete darauf mit der folgenden Frage: „Was kann ich für dich tun?“. (Anmerkung der Redaktion: Sprachkommando sowie Antwort erfolgten in englischer Sprache).

Während des ersten Ausflugs auf der ISS demonstrierte Cimon einige seiner Fähigkeiten: Es suchte und erkannte Alexander Gersts Gesicht, nahm Fotos und Videos auf, zeigte Anweisungen für ein Schülerexperiment zur Kristallbildung sowie einen Clip zur Lösung eines Zauberwürfels. Auf Alexander Gersts Wunsch spielte er ebenfalls eines seiner Lieblingslieder ab – natürlich war es ein Track von Kraftwerk.

Alle Beteiligten sind zufrieden mit dem Technologieexperiment. Daher hoffen sowohl Cimons Entwickler als auch Alexander Gerst Cimon bald wieder in Aktion zu sehen. Obwohl während der aktuellen Horizons-Mission vorerst keine weiteren Einsätze geplant sind, könnte dieses Experiment den Beginn einer spannenden Zusammenarbeit zwischen Astronauten, Roboterassistenten und möglichen zukünftigen Künstlichen Intelligenz-Anwendungen im Weltraum markieren.

Credits: ESA/NASA

Quelle: ESA