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Thomas Pesquet: "Several French astronauts, that gives more flexibility"

2022-11-23T16:08:44.072Z

The European Space Agency announced on Wednesday that the French Sophie Adenot (active) and Arnaud Prost (reservist) join its team



The "family" is growing: the astronauts of the European Space Agency (ESA) are now 24 in number, since the announcement, Wednesday, of the constitution of a new promotion of 17 people (including twelve reservists).

Selected in 2009, the French Thomas Pesquet, 44 years old, two stays in the International Space Station (ISS) on the clock, does not throw away his suit.

Involved in the recruitment of newcomers, he is also eyeing the new Artemis lunar program of which he could well be one of the actors in a few years.

You participated in the selection process for new astronauts.

Thirteen years later, you have therefore passed to the other side.

What does it do ?

THOMAS PESQUET.

In fact, I had tests, simulations, psychological evaluations… It's super interesting.

I got involved a lot because I wanted to take it very seriously.

I know, having been on the other side, how important it is for these people, how much it is the dream of their life for many.

So we can't afford to treat them lightly.

It's not: if they don't have that job, they'll have another one.

We tried to concentrate as much as possible, to assess everything.

We couldn't afford to look at our phones while people were talking to us.

It also made me, in retrospect, realize that it is easy to be rejected.

There were so many candidates… The slightest doubt on our part was elimination.

Out of 22,500 candidates, there were more than 7,000 French.

How do you explain that we are the first nation represented?

I hope it's a bit thanks to me!

I have been trying to share this adventure for ten years now, to say that it is important and to show what we are doing on board the ISS.

I would have liked to see that when I was little, because the adventure is too good to keep it for oneself.

I said a lot that you shouldn't limit yourself, censor yourself, because I myself almost didn't register for the selection.

When I saw her, I said to myself: this must be too difficult.

Which is stupid.

I also think that space fascinates today.

We can't see what's going on anymore.

We have more images, more technology.

We have a photo of the passage of the Orion ship

(from the Artemis I mission, in progress)

behind the Moon, of sufficient quality and everyone can have it on their smartphone in real time.

Space has long been very virtual.

It was very far away, we couldn't see.

Today is a little different.

Thomas Pesquet, November 23, 2022, in Paris.

LP / Arnaud Dumontier Arnaud Dumontier

International cooperation in space is exemplary.

We also imagine a frank camaraderie in the European astronaut corps.

Does it represent an additional advantage that there are others of the same nationality as oneself?

In the event of a health problem, it was not great for the space program of France to be the only Frenchman.

Even though we are Europeans, we also represent our country.

We have the flag on the sleeve.

To be two or three, it can give more flexibility.

For the media side, it can also help not to be the only interface

(laughs)

 !

And it can be interesting to vary the profiles.

We know you are interested in the Moon.

By 2030, several missions of NASA's Artemis program will consist of putting into orbit modules of the Gateway lunar station designed by Thales.

Wouldn't they be cut for a French astronaut?

Yes and no.

There is no crystal ball.

It's hard to predict the future.

Overall, it gives a little voice to the chapter that Europe has this important place in this cooperation.

Within Europe, each country has its own contribution.

The more important it is, the more it is certain that it seems logical to have a representative of the country.

Obviously, this is true for France, but it is true for others: Italy also does a lot of work in space exploration.

The Germans are very present on the Orion Service Module.

We are all a bit chauvinistic but we try to encompass everyone a bit.

Source: leparis

All tech articles on 2022-11-23

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