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Thomas Pesquet
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet joined the International Space Station on November 19th 2016.

 

The tenth French to go to space

On November 19th 2016, two days after leaving the spaceport in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Thomas Pesquet joined the International Space Station team.

This is the outcome of an unusual career: an engineer by training, Thomas Pesquet studied in the Institut supérieur de l’aéronautique et de l’espace (Supaéro, National Higher School of Aeronautics and Space) before completing his studies at Air France in order to become airline pilot. After two years of flying, he applied to the European Space Agency. At the time, the Agency was looking for six astronauts. He was selected among 84,000 applicants alongside German, British, Danish and Italian colleagues. After seven years of intense preparations, he became the tenth French to go to space.

 

  

  

Six month to lead over 100 experiences

Fluids mechanics, remote echography, virtual reality and more: Thomas Pesquet must now lead over 60 experiences for the European Space Agency and the French Centre for Spatial Studies. He will also have to cooperate with American, Canadian and Japanese space agencies to lead 55 other experimentations.

This is also an opportunity to boost the love for such career. From the International Space Station, the astronaut frequently tweets photos and stories about his everyday life to about 200,000 followers. Sessions of questions/answers are also planned with school children all over France. "Be curious of everybody and everything", he said on November 18th 2016 to students of the École d’ingénieurs aéronautique et spatiale (IPSA, Engineering School for Aeronautics and Space) and the IT school Epitech. "Don't hesitate to go abroad and experiment other cultures through exchange, internships or even travels." This is an experience Thomas Pesquet experimented himself during an exchange year in Canada, in studies in Polytechnique Montréal.

Fifteen years later, the astronaut is now speaking six languages: French, German, Chinese, Spanish and Russian. He has a black belt in judo, loves squash, rugby, basketball, skydiving, diving, ski, literature... and playing the saxophone.

 

Photos © NASA