Media are invited to the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany on 17 April for ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst’s last news conference in Europe before his second launch into space.

The final countdown for Alexander’s second stay in orbit has begun. The mission is called Horizons to evoke exploring our Universe, looking far beyond our planet and broadening our knowledge. His first mission was called Blue Dot.

Alexander will be launched on 6 June with US astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev from the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft.

Alexander will take over command of the International Space Station for the second half of his mission. This is only the second time that a European astronaut will take up this leading position on the space outpost – the first was ESA astronaut Frank De Winne in 2009. Alexander Gerst is the 11th German citizen to fly into space.

The astronaut is now in the last stages of training for his challenging mission. The science programme is packed with European research: more than 50 experiments will deliver benefits to people back on Earth and prepare for future space exploration.

Journalists will have the opportunity to learn more about the Horizons mission, listen to brief contributions from science experts and ask Alexander questions.

Programme (times CEST)

The event will be presented in German and English.


Welcome by Frank De Winne, Head of ESA’s European Astronaut Centre

“The European Astronaut Corps”, by ESA astronaut Tim Peake

“Horizons experiments”, by Volker Schmid, Head of DLR’s International Space Station team, and Matthias Sperl, DLR scientist

Lightning talks on Horizons science


Conversation with Alexander Gerst on science, exploration and his role as Station Commander


Q&A session


Media opportunity for shared interviews





The event will be held at:


Linder Hoehe
D-51147 Cologne


Media accreditation

Media representatives with press or social media credentials are requested to register at:

Latest date for registration is 16 April.


Follow online

The event will be livestreamed from 08:30 GMT (10:30 CEST) at:


Further information

EAC Communication Office
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +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

For further information, please contact:
ESA Media Relations Office
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99

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