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Waspie_Dwarf

Munich to Alexander: all systems go

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Munich to Alexander: all systems go

22 May 2014 An atmosphere of rising excitement can be sensed in the control centre: everything is ready for ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst’s voyage to the International Space Station blasting off next Wednesday.

The Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich, Germany has followed many launches since its inauguration 10 years ago – but no mission is routine.

The centres in Baikonur, Kazakhstan and Korolev, Russia are in the front line but ESA’s site – callsign “Munich” – is responsible for the Columbus module and all European experiments.

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Expedition 40 all set to go

26 May 2014 From unusual training to upholding cherished traditions, everything is being done to ensure that ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and his crewmates arrive at the International Space Station on Thursday safely and in good health – including being flipped upside down and relieving themselves on the wheel of a bus.

The crew landed at the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan two weeks before the 28 May launch and continue preparing themselves for the disorientation of living in weightlessness.

Russian physicians believe that tilting astronauts heads-down and spinning them in chairs gives balance organs a first taste of the confusion they will experience in weightlessness.

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