Welcome back, Alexander Gerst

20th December 2018

After more than half a year in space, the German ISS commander Alexander Gerst returned to earth today. As a long-standing partner in the Columbus Control Centre, the Bochum-based space company SCISYS provided technical support for Astro-Alex’s mission on the ISS and followed it with particular excitement.

On 8 June 2018, Alexander Gerst’s second mission on the International Space Station was launched, and in October he was appointed the first German commander of the ISS. Now, with a little delay, he is back on earth with both feet on the ground. No European has been in space longer than him. The 42-year-old geophysicist and astronaut has used the time on board for numerous scientific experiments.

Rueckkehr Gerst. Image Credit: NASA/B. Ingalls

Among other things, he investigated the biomechanical properties of the human muscle, observed the development of immune cells and carried out analyses of changes in the ecosystem on the earth’s surface. Reliable technology is needed to transfer the collected data to the control centres and research facilities distributed all around the world.

Data transfer from space to earth and around the world

The transfer of experimental data between the ISS and the research facilities has now been carried out for 18 years through a system supplied by SCISYS. The Data Service Subsystem (DaSS) collects the experimental data in space and sends them to the ground segment on earth. From there, the data is distributed to the two main control centres in the USA and Russia before being processed, archived and made available to scientists in twelve European User Support and Operation Centres (USOCs). The DaSS enables scientists not only to access the data in real time or from the archive, but also to control experiments on board.

In addition, the Integrated Management System (IMS) – also developed by SCISYS – ensures that all components of the ground segment can be monitored, controlled and configured. Both systems have thus contributed a part to the success of Alex Gerst’s experiments on the ISS.

“We would like to thank “Astro-Alex” for his 197 days in space, in which he gave all of us the opportunity to participate so intensively with his great pictures and videos. His mission as commander of the ISS was impressive, fascinating and thought-provoking. We are happy for the astronaut that he can spend the holidays with his family and wish him a Merry Christmas”, says Ulli Leibnitz, Managing Director of SCISYS Germany.

SCISYS Deutschland GmbH
Jasmina Driller
Borgmannstraße 2
44894 Bochum
Tel.     +49 234 9258 294

About SCISYS Group:

Employing around 670 staff, SCISYS Group is a leading developer of information and communications technology services, e-business, web and mobile applications, editorial newsroom solutions and advanced technology solutions. The Company operates in a broad spectrum of market sectors, including Media & Broadcast, Space, Government and Defence and Commercial sectors. SCISYS clients are predominantly blue-chip and public-sector organisations. Customers include the Environment Agency, the Ministry of Defence, Airbus Defence & Space, Thales Alenia Space, Arqiva, Vodafone, the European Space Agency, Eumetsat, the BBC, Radio France, RTL, RNLI, Pets at Home, Siemens and the National Trust. The Company's registered office is in Dublin, with UK offices in Chippenham, Bristol, Leicester and Reading and German offices in Bochum, Dortmund, Darmstadt and Munich.