Astronaut Thomas Pesquet becomes the first French to command the International Space Station

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet becomes the first French to command the International Space Station

Another line in his autobiography. On Monday 4 October, Thomas Pesquet will become the first Frenchman to command the International Space Station (ISS). L’astronaute de l’Agence spatiale européenne (ESA) va en effet prendre la relève du Japonais Akihiko Hoshide (JAXA) lors d’une cérémonie de passation de clé (symbolique) du véhicule spatial, retransmise en direct de la sur lasa Monday evening.

The 43-year-old Tolosan, who will hold this position until the end of his mission in orbit in November, will be in charge of the six other crew members (three Americans, two Russians and one Japanese) currently residing on the International Space Station.

What will he do concretely? Frank de Winn, head of the European Space Agency’s European Astronaut Center in Cologne (Germany), explained that its tasks have nothing to do with flying an aircraft because the space station flies 400 km above Earth independently, and steering maneuvers are performed from the ground. .

Starship captain “The day begins by entering into a conference with tour operators on the ground (who are in Houston, Moscow, Munich and Tsukuba in Japan) to talk about the day’s 15-minute schedule.”Says this Belgian astronaut, who was the first European to hold this position in 2009.C’est au sol que le travail des astronautes est réparti, mais c’est au commandant de bord de s’assurer que toute l’équipe puisse bien exécuter les tâches assignées, que tout le monde fonctionne, ses capacits meilleurs good atmosphere”, he explains.

What if things go wrong? After that, the commander has full authority to make decisions in emergency situations, without waiting for instructions from the ground. In the event of a fire, depressurization or the discovery of a toxic atmosphere – the three specific emergency scenarios – it is up to him to ensure that the life of the crew is saved as a priority. Two spacecraft, Space X’s Crew Dragon capsule, and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, are permanently docked at the International Space Station, which astronauts can use to reach safety in case of danger.

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being a leader, “Like a boat, there is only one captain on board after God.”, the Frenchman commented at a press conference in March before he began his mission into orbit. “Obviously a lot of things are set in the Control Center. But if there’s one voice in the crew that matters, it’s that of the captain.”

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