N° 34-2018

Call for Media: End of mission and return of ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst

05 December 2018

  • French
  • German

ESA astronaut and current commander of the International Space Station (ISS), Alexander Gerst, is expected to return to Earth with a Soyuz capsule on Thursday, 20 December 2018, landing at 11:03 local time (06:03 CET). Along with Alexander will be NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev.

Media representatives are invited to attend a number of events to mark the end of Alexander Gerst’s Horizons mission.

Astronaut availability is limited upon return from missions, as they undertake a busy schedule of science and rehabilitation after more than six months on board the International Space Station. Events may move or can be cancelled at short notice.


12 December 2018:

Final video conference with Alexander Gerst from the ISS, at EAC Cologne

A live video conference with Alexander Gerst will take place from 13:40 to 14:00 CET on Wednesday 12 December 2018 at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC). Due to time constraints, questions are limited to one per media outlet. Media requests for questions can be submitted in advance in the accreditation form (below) and will be handled on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. 

This event can be recorded and/or broadcast live.

Arrival from: 12:30

Live video conference: 13:40 to 14:00

End: 14:30

(all times CET)

Venue: ESA/EAC, Linder Hoehe, D-51147 Cologne, Germany, https://osm.org/go/0GITDHE~0


20 December 2018

‘Direct Return’: photo and film opportunities in the context of landing and return to Cologne

Alexander Gerst is expected to arrive at the military area of Cologne/Bonn Airport at 20:15 CET on the evening of 20 December 2018. Media are invited to follow his arrival. There are no opportunities for interviews with Alexander Gerst.

Travelling with ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and medical staff on board the ESA aircraft will be: ESA’s Director General Jan Wörner, ESA’s Director for Human and Robotic Exploration David Parker, and Head of the European Astronaut Centre EAC and Lead ISS Operations Frank De Winne.

Arrival: Not earlier than 19:15 CET

Location: http://download.esa.int/esoc/AnfahrtKoelnBonn.pdf  

Entrance (“Passagierabfertigung“): security gate in front of Flugbereitschaft BMVg (Bundesministerium der Verteidigung) terminal. The main entrance of the military part of Cologne Airport is located nearby EAC, Flughafenstrasse, 51147 Cologne. Parking: see parking sign on map


22 December 2018:

News conference at ESA's European Astronaut Centre EAC in Cologne

On the morning of Saturday, 22 December 2018, media are invited to attend a press conference at ESA's European Astronaut Centre in Cologne. From 11:15 to 12:15 CET, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is joined by ESA’s Director General Jan Wörner and Frank De Winne, Head of the European Astronaut Centre EAC and Lead ISS Operations, to answer questions after providing short statements. No individual interviews with Alexander Gerst will be possible at this time.

The event will be held in German and English. 

Venue: ESA/EAC, Linder Hoehe, 51147 Cologne, Germany, https://osm.org/go/0GITDHE~0

Arrival from: 10:00 CET

News conference: 11:15 to 12:15 CET

End: 13:00 CET


The event will also be available to follow online from 11.00 CET at www.livestream.com/ESA 



The following deadlines apply:

Final video conference with Alexander Gerst from the ISS, at EAC Cologne: 11 December

Registration: https://se.myconvento.com/public/event_register/index/2598418


‘Direct Return’: photo and film opportunities in the context of landing and return to Cologne: 19 December

Registration: https://se.myconvento.com/public/event_register/index/2598666


News conference at ESA's European Astronaut Centre EAC in Cologne: 21 December

Registration: https://se.myconvento.com/public/event_register/index/2598867


For further information, please contact:

ESA EAC Communications Office

E-Mail: EAC.Communication@esa.int

Phone: +49 2203 6001 111


About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an Associate Member.

ESA has established formal cooperation with six Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with Eumetsat for the development of meteorological missions.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. ESA also has a strong applications programme developing services in Earth observation, navigation and telecommunications.

Learn more about ESA at www.esa.int

For further information, please contact:
ESA Media Relations Office
Email: media@esa.int
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99



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