Astronaut, airline pilot and photographer: the many hats of Thomas Pesquet

Airplane pilot, astronaut, and photographer: Thomas Pesquet publishes Wednesday November 2 The Earth in our handsa book of images taken in orbit from the International Space Station.

Thomas Pesquet began his career in 2001 as a trainee engineer with Alcatel Space, which designs satellites. He then joined the same year a Spanish company, GMV Innovating Solutions. Recruited by the National Center for Space Studies in 2002, he worked, among other things, on the autonomy of space missions until 2004.

Airline pilot

His career took a more practical turn when he passed the Air France competitions in 2004. He obtained a pilot’s license at the end of 2005 and flew Airbus A320, A318, A319 and A321 for Air France. He accumulated 2,500 flight hours in all and even became an instructor on the A320.

When the European Astronaut Corps launched a recruitment campaign in 2008, Thomas Pesquet presented his candidacy. He was one of six people selected out of 8,413 applicants in May 2009 and became the youngest astronaut ever recruited by the European Space Agency (ESA). He learns Russian, vital for communicating on the International Space Station (ISS), and begins his training.

Tenth Frenchman in space

In 2017, Thomas Pesquet became the tenth Frenchman to go into space and the second to make a long stay. He made his first extravehicular outing, during which he carried out work on the electrical system of the ISS, in January 2017.

As soon as he arrived on board, the French astronaut stood out for his communication: he took 85,000 photos during the first six months in flight and posted several thousand on social networks. This interest in photography, materialized by The Earth in our handshad already given a first book, Land(s)published in 2017.


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