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Exploration

ESA Astronauts

Class of 2009

Made up of astronauts from France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and the UK, members of ESA's astronaut class of 2009 have flown eight missions to the International Space Station. Find out more about each astronaut and their activities by clicking on their profile.

Podcasts

ESA Explores

Go behind the scenes of space exploration with this official podcast from the European Space Agency. The Beyond series focuses on ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s latest mission to the International Space Station.

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Topics

Exploration topics

Human spaceflight and robotic exploration expand our knowledge of the Universe and enhance life on Earth. From missions to the International Space Station (ISS), to ground-based training and future technologies, join ESA in exploring farther.

Featured image

Say cheese

Amateur astrophotographer Javier Manteca captured the International Space Station as flew in front of the Moon on 5 February. While most eyes were on the change of command ceremony taking place inside the Space Station ahead of ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s return to Earth, Javier set up his gear to track the Station from the small town of Campo Real in Madrid, Spain. Using a camera attached to a 150/750 telescope recording at 25 frames per second, Javier captured the 690 millisecond transit on video and composed this image made from 17 stacked frames. For Javier, this was a moment two years in the making. He posted the image to his Twitter and Instagram, where you can find more of his work.

Spacewalking

Spacewalking stats

In January, Luca Parmitano surpassed Christer Fuglesang's record to claim the top spot for longest cumulative spacewalking time by a European astronaut.

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Luca Parmitano

A record-breaking astronaut returns to terra firma

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano is back on Earth after touching down in the Russian Soyuz MS-13 crew module at 09:12 GMT (10:12 CET) Thursday 6 February.

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Luca Parmitano

Fourth #SpacewalkForAMS: latest updates

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan are performing the fourth in a series of complex spacewalks to maintain the cosmic ray detecting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02 today – 25 January 2020. It is the third spacewalk of 2020, the sixth for Luca and the ninth spacewalk for Expedition 61 crew – the most ever performed during a single expedition.

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Luca Parmitano

Watch Luca’s final #SpacewalkForAMS

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan will exit the International Space Station airlock together for the fourth time Saturday 25 January. It is the ninth spacewalk for Expedition 61 – the most spacewalks ever performed during a single Space Station expedition – and the last in a complex series to maintain the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02.

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Caves

Cave life for space

Before I realised it, the cave clamped down on me. A completely different world surrounded me, absorbing all my attention. This was not a simulation, but real exploration in a hostile environment dominated by darkness.

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Luca Parmitano

Bones, bacteria and nutrition – European science in space

For eight days the International Space Station operated at full capacity with nine astronauts. With the extra set of hands in space the science teams on Earth got busy scheduling the astronauts’ days to get the most research time out of their time in orbit.

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Alexander Gerst

Closing the loop on Space Station science

Scientist in ESA’s Human Spaceflight programme Elizabeth Heider shares her experiences of a recent science debrief with ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst following the 2018 Horizons mission. The version below has been edited for length. See the full article on LinkedIn.

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Thomas Pesquet

Thomas’ underwater adventure

Over the next two weeks ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronaut Drew Feustel and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai will take part in a new NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) mission off the coast of California, USA, to assess concepts for undersea training that will aid our next steps on the Moon.

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