ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst accepted the role of International Space Station Commander from departing NASA crew mate Drew Feustel during a ceremony on 3 October 2018. He will now lead the crew of Expedition 57 through to the end of his Horizons mission in December as the second ever European in command.
The change of command ceremony has its roots in nautical traditions. The ringing of a bell on board and a symbolic hatch key handed from one commander to the other signifies the change in leadership.
After departing the Station in the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft on 4 October, Drew, his fellow NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold, and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos are now safely back on Earth.