ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is returning to the International Space Station next year and today he revealed his mission name and logo: Horizons. Alexander is the first of ESA’s class of 2009 astronauts who will be sent into space for a second time, launching on Soyuz MS-09 together with NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps and Russian spacecraft commander Sergei Prokopyev in May 2018. His first mission, Blue Dot, in 2014, lasted from May to November 2014.
“For Blue Dot I wanted to share the change of perspective seeing our planet from space can give you, this time I want to put the accent on exploration,” says Alexander.
“Horizons are a symbol for the unknown and when I gaze at the horizon I cannot help but wonder what lies behind it. For this reason we run scientific experiments on the Space Station: we want to broaden our horizons as humankind.”
Alexander will be part of Expedition 56 and 57, taking over as commander of the Space Station for Expedition 57.
The logo was designed to be timeless and shows a face gazing into the horizon above a blue band that symbolises the atmosphere, but also the Blue Dot mission. The new mission goes beyond Blue Dot and extends into infinity symbolised by the white arc. To the right of the mission name is a stylised International Space Station.
ESA’s Director General Jan Woerner comments: “I am glad that Alexander Gerst will be launched on his second mission to the International Space Station soon.
“His new mission name is fitting as it will open up new horizons in human and robotic spaceflight. Long-duration missions are an important basis for medical experiments that can be used on Earth as well as to prepare for human exploration beyond Earth-orbit.”