Thomas Gautier Pesquet (French pronunciation: [tɔmɑ ɡotje pɛskɛ]; born 27 February 1978) is a French aerospace engineer, pilot, European Space Agency astronaut, actor[1] and writer. Pesquet was selected by ESA as a candidate in May 2009,[2] and he successfully completed his basic training in November 2010.[3] From November 2016 to June 2017, Pesquet was part of Expedition 50 and Expedition 51 as a flight engineer.[4] Pesquet returned to space in April 2021 on board the SpaceX Crew Dragon for a second six-month stay on the ISS.

Thomas Pesquet
Official portrait, 2020
Thomas Gautier Pesquet

(1978-02-27) 27 February 1978 (age 46)
Rouen, Normandy, France
Nationality France
Space career
CNES/ESA astronaut
Soyuz flight engineer
Crew Dragon mission specialist
Time in space
396 days 11 hours 34 minutes
Selection2009 ESA Group
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
39 hours, 54 minutes
MissionsSoyuz MS-03 (Expedition 50/51) SpaceX Crew-2 (Expedition 65/66)
Mission insignia

Personal life edit

Pesquet was born in Rouen, France and considers Dieppe his hometown. He is the younger of two brothers. Pesquet is a black belt in judo and lists basketball, jogging, swimming and squash as his favourite sports. He is an outdoor and adventure activities enthusiast, and enjoys mountain biking, kite surfing, sailing, skiing and mountaineering. He also has extensive experience with, and holds advanced licenses in, both scuba diving and parachuting. His other interests include travelling, playing the saxophone and reading. He is a supporter of the French football team,[5] as well as the French rugby team and the Stade Toulousain.[6]

Education edit

Pesquet graduated from the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen,[7] France, in 1996.

In 2001, he received a master's degree from the École nationale supérieure de l'aéronautique et de l'espace in Toulouse, France, majoring in space systems and space vehicle mechanics. He spent his final year before graduation at the École Polytechnique de Montréal, Canada, as an exchange student on the Aeronautics and Space Master.

Pesquet graduated from the Air France flight school in 2006. This led to an Airline Transport Pilot License-Instrument Rating (ATPL-IR).

He speaks French, English, Spanish, Chinese, German and Russian, and is a member of the French Aeronautics and Astronautics Association (3AF), and of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Career edit

Pesquet training for NEEMO 18

From October 2001, Pesquet worked as a spacecraft dynamics engineer on remote sensing missions for GMV, S.A. in Madrid, Spain.

Between 2002 and 2004, Pesquet worked at the French space agency, CNES, as a research engineer on space missions autonomy. He also carried out various studies on future European ground segment design and European space technology harmonization. From late 2002, he was a representative of CNES at CCSDS, the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems, working on the topic of cross-support between international space agencies.

A private pilot, he was selected in 2004 for Air France's flight training programme. He went on to become a commercial pilot for the French airline, where he started flying the Airbus A320 in 2006. He has logged more than 2000 hours flying time on various commercial airliners, and has qualified as a type-rating flight instructor on the A320, and as a Crew Resource Management instructor.

In 2018, Pesquet gained his Airbus A310 type rating and is qualified as a Novespace Zero-G aircraft pilot.

ESA career edit

Pesquet was selected as a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut in May 2009. He joined ESA in September 2009 and successfully completed Astronaut Basic Training in November 2010. Pesquet is the youngest member of the European Astronaut Corps, and the last of the ESA astronaut class of 2009 to arrive in space.

On 10 June 2014, NASA announced that Pesquet would serve as an aquanaut aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory during the NEEMO 18 undersea exploration mission, which began on 21 July 2014 and lasted nine days.[8][9] He has also taken part in ESA's CAVES[10] underground course in 2011[11] and NASA's SEATEST II mission in 2013, furthering his experience in exploration.

In 2014, Pesquet was chosen by ESA for a six-month mission to the International Space Station starting in November 2016.[12] He was also the backup to ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen who flew to the International Space Station on a 10-day flight in September 2015.

Expedition 50/51 edit

Pesquet during EVA on January 13, 2017

Pesquet launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome onboard Soyuz MS-03 on November 17, 2016. He spent six months on the International Space Station as part of Expedition 50/51. Arriving at the ISS on November 19, 2016, he was the first French astronaut since Léopold Eyharts helped install the Columbus European laboratory module during Expedition 16. His arrival marked the beginning of the European Proxima mission.[13]

Pesquet and fellow crew members Oleg Novitsky and Peggy Whitson (left to right)

The Proxima mission included 50 science experiments for ESA and CNES. The mission was named after Proxima Centauri, continuing the French astronauts' tradition of naming the missions after stars and constellations. The X inside the logo symbolizes that Pesquet is the tenth French astronaut as well as the unknown. The Proxima mission name was chosen in a competition, with the winning name given by 13-year-old Samuel Planas from Toulouse, France. The mission logo was designed by Thomas Pesquet and Karen Oldenburg.[14]

Pesquet performed his first EVA with astronaut Shane Kimbrough on January 13, 2017. During the EVA, they prepared the infrastructure to replace the ISS batteries. The EVA lasted for 5 hours and 58 minutes.[15]

Pesquet holding a photo of ESA colleague Tim Peake holding a photo of fellow ESA astronauts

On March 23, 2017, Pesquet performed his second career EVA with Shane Kimbrough. The main objective was to prepare the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) for installation of the second International Docking Adapter (IDA), which will accommodate future commercial crew vehicle dockings. The PMA-3 provides the pressurized interface between the station modules and the docking adapter. Expedition 50 Commander Kimbrough and Pesquet disconnected cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 to prepare for its robotic move on March 26, 2017. PMA-3 will be moved from the port side of the Tranquility module to the space-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will become home for the docking adapter, which will be delivered on a future flight of a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship. The spacewalkers also installed on the starboard zero truss (ITS) a new computer relay box equipped with advanced software for the adapter. The two spacewalkers lubricated the latching end effector on the Canadarm2 robotic arm, inspected a radiator valve suspected of a small ammonia leak and replaced cameras on the Japanese segment of the outpost. Radiators are used to shed excess heat that builds up through normal space station operation. The EVA lasted for 6 hours and 34 minutes.[16]

On June 2, 2017, MS-03 undocked from the ISS, carrying Pesquet and Novitskiy back to Earth, concluding a 196-day mission in space. Peggy Whitson remained on the ISS and returned on Soyuz MS-04. MS-03 touched down just over 3 hours after undocking, concluding Pesquet's first spaceflight. Pesquet has spent 196 days, 17 hours and 49 minutes in space.[17]

Expedition 65/66 edit

On 11 March 2020, ESA announced in a blog post that Pesquet would return to the ISS in the second half of 2021 for a second six-month stay, in which he would become the first European astronaut to launch on board an American Commercial Crew Vehicle.[18] And on July 28, 2020, Pesquet was officially assigned to the SpaceX Crew-2 as a mission specialist alongside NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough commander of the Crew Dragon, Megan McArthur the pilot, and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide the other mission specialist.[19] Few hours before the announcement and after a competition to name Pesquet's mission,[20] Pesquet revealed his second mission name as Alpha, after Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to the Sun, following the French mission naming tradition.[21]

Crew Dragon Endeavour was launched on 23 April 2021 at 09:49:02 UTC, and docked to the International Space Station on 24 April at 09:08 UTC.[22] Once on board the station, they joined ISS Expedition 65.[23][21]

During this mission, Pesquet performed 4 EVAs. The first three EVAs were conducted with Shane Kimbrough on the 16, 20, and 25 of June with the tasks to install the first two Roll Out Solar Arrays (iROSA) on the station.[24][25] The fourth EVA was originally planned to be performed by Akihiko Hoshide and Mark Vande Hei but due to a medical issue for Vande Hei, Pesquet exited for the sixth time of his career the ISS to perform a spacewalk.[26] During this spacewalk, he became the European record holder for most cumulative hours spent spacewalking, with a total of 39 hours and 54 minutes.

On October 4, 2021, he received from Akihiko Hoshide the command of the ISS, making him the first French astronaut to command a space vehicle.[27] He transferred the command of the station to his Russian colleague Anton Shkaplerov on November 6, 2021.[28]

Crew-2 landed in the Gulf of Mexico on 9 November 2021, after 199 days in space.[29]

Goodwill Ambassador edit

On 12 April 2021, Thomas Pesquet was nominated Goodwill Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.[30]

At the closing ceremony of the 2020 Summer Olympics, during the "handoff" portion introducing Paris as the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics, Pesquet performed the closing bars of the French national anthem La Marseillaise on a saxophone while aboard the International Space Station.[31]

Artistic career edit

Wanting to transmit his passion for space, he wrote 2 books, a comic about his life "Dans la combi de Thomas Pesquet" (In the suit of Thomas Pesquet) and an autobiography "Ma vie sans gravité" (My life without gravity , gravity and seriousness being the same word in french). He also protrayed himself in the movie Hawa.

See also edit

Notes edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Hawa (2022 French film)", Wikipedia, 2024-01-23, retrieved 2024-01-23
  2. ^ New class of European astronauts report for training
  3. ^ Graduation ceremony for ESA's new astronauts
  4. ^ ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will fly to the International Space Station in 2016 17 March 2014
  5. ^ "Euro 2021 : comment Thomas Pesquet pourra suivre le match Portugal-France depuis l'espace". (in French). Retrieved 2021-06-23.
  6. ^ "Depuis l'espace, Thomas Pesquet avec le maillot des Bleus et le ballon du Stade Toulousain" (in French). 4 February 2017.
  7. ^ Lycée Pierre Corneille de Rouen - History
  8. ^ "NASA Announces Two Upcoming Undersea Missions". NASA. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  9. ^ Bergin, Chris (11 June 2014). "NEEMO returns with two new underwater missions". NASASpaceflight. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  10. ^ Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Payler, Samuel J.; Vattano, Marco; Sauro, Francesco Maria; Turchi, Leonardo; Bessone, Loredana (2021-07-01). "Speleology as an analogue to space exploration: The ESA CAVES training programme". Acta Astronautica. 184: 150–166. Bibcode:2021AcAau.184..150S. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2021.04.003. hdl:11585/819077. ISSN 0094-5765. S2CID 234819922.
  11. ^ "Astronauts cave crew returns to earth". CBS. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  12. ^ "ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will fly to the International Space Station in 2016". ESA. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  13. ^ "ESA Astronaut Thomas Pesquet arrives at the International Space Station". ESA. 19 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Proxima Mission Logo". ESA. 12 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Second Spacewalk of 2017 Successfully Complete". NASA. January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  16. ^ "Astronauts carry out first of three station spacewalks". CBS news. March 24, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  17. ^ Garcia, Mark (June 2, 2017). "Expedition 51 Crew Back on Earth After 196 Days". NASA.
  18. ^ "Thomas starts training for second space mission". ESA - Exploration. 2020-03-11. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  19. ^ Potter, Sean (28 July 2020). "NASA Announces Astronauts to Fly on SpaceX Crew-2 Mission to Space Station". NASA. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  20. ^ "Thomas Pesquet's 'Alpha' mission patch - collectSPACE: Messages". Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  21. ^ a b "Thomas Pesquet first ESA astronaut to ride a Dragon to space". ESA Science & Exploration. 28 July 2020.
  22. ^ "SpaceX's Crew-2 launch lights up the predawn sky with a spectacular show (photos)". 23 April 2021.
  23. ^ "JAXA星出彰彦宇宙飛行士の国際宇宙ステーション(ISS)長期滞在 搭乗機決定について". JAXA. 28 July 2020. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  24. ^ "New solar arrays ready to upgrade International Space Station's power grid". Spaceflight Now. 2 June 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  25. ^ "Current and Future Operations and Challenges with International Space Station" (PDF). ISS Program Office. NASA. 15 Oct 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  26. ^ "Spacewalk is Postponed". NASA. 2021-08-23. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  27. ^ "Thomas Pesquet takes commanding role on Space Station". ESA. 2021-10-04. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  28. ^ "Russian cosmonaut Shkaplerov takes command of ISS". TASS. 2021-11-06. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  29. ^ "SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts splash down in the Gulf of Mexico, completing their mission". Washington Post. 2021-11-09. Retrieved 2022-05-06.
  30. ^ "FAO Website". Food and Agriculture Organization.
  31. ^ "French Astronaut Plays Saxophone From Outer Space During Closing Ceremony". NBC10 Philadelphia. 8 August 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-09.

External links edit

Preceded by ISS Expedition Commander
October 5, 2021 - October 17, 2022
Succeeded by
Thomas Pesquet
Preceded by
Thomas Pesquet
ISS Expedition Commander
October 5, 2021 - November 8, 2022
Succeeded by