Expedition 65/66's Thomas Pesquet's tweet says:

So long DC1! After almost twenty years of service, instead of getting a medal First place medal, one of the @Space_Station's oldest @roscosmos modules got a little trip through the atmosphere. Shooting star #MissionAlpha https://flic.kr/p/2mdysX9

Question: What is "Mission Alpha" and why does Expedition 65/66's Thomas Pesquet's tweet have the #MissionAlpha hashtag?

from Exp. 65/66's Thomas Pesquet's tweet https://twitter.com/Thom_astro/status/1420029229517922304

below: Illustration of expedition 65/66's Thomas Pesquet for reference (source)

Rodéo entre 2 rangements d’équipement (Horse racing emoji) – on laisse rarement un appareil scientifique déployé une fois utilisé : il y a toujours une autre expérience qui a besoin de la place… (Horse emoji) #MissionAlpha https://flic.kr/p/2mdFMjC

Google translated, potentially helpful:

Rodeo between 2 Horse racing equipment storage - we rarely leave a scientific device deployed once used: there is always another experience that needs space

Expedition 65/66's Thomas Pesquet from their tweet https://twitter.com/Thom_astro/status/1420009466121048064


1 Answer 1


ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is returning to the International Space Station for a second mission called Alpha, after the star Alpha Centauri, located in the same system as Proxima.

badge for Mission Alpha, Pesquet's 2nd mission to the ISS. A stylized Falcon rocket is depicted launching with clouds of smoke below it. A circle of rainbow-colored dashes borders the circular badge, and the word "alpha" is written in large font near the center, uncapitalized. The top dash is in the French national colors of blue, white, and red.

Source: ESA webpage https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Alpha

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    $\begingroup$ As it says, his second mission to the ISS is called Mission Alpha, and when he tweets about it, he uses that hashtag. DC-1 was discarded during his mission. "Mission Alpha" is a pure PR thing. $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2021 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ I think I see. I'd thought that there were two missions, each called alpha, and they were related to studies of the star Alpha Centauri (and perhaps other nearby stars), and that Pesquet was carrying these very exciting missions out aboard the ISS. The old instruments necessary to perform this critical mission had to be discarded in order to make way for these new Mission Alpha instruments. It seems my excitement and enthusiasm for this potentially fascinating mission was misplaced. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 30, 2021 at 1:27
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    $\begingroup$ We can all be enthused that the ISS will finally have a French commander! $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2021 at 1:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Maurer's mission is called "Cosmic Kiss" esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/… $\endgroup$ Nov 13, 2021 at 2:08

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