“This second stay on board the International Space Station will be more difficult than the first,” Thomas Pesquet said three days before departure.

“This second stay on board the International Space Station will be more difficult than the first,” Thomas Pesquet said three days before departure.

Thomas Pisquet in training, June 19, 2020, at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) in Houston (Texas). – Bill Stafford / NASA / AFP

  • Thomas Pesquet will return to the International Space Station on Thursday for a period of six months.
  • Its mission, codenamed Alpha, will aim to contribute to one hundred international scientific experiments. The astronaut will also take control of the International Space Station for several weeks, near the end of his mission.
  • Three days before departure and before a final rehearsal to take off on Wednesday, Thomas Pesquet spoke at a press conference from Florida.

get ready to go. Smiling and calm Thomas Pesquet He appeared in front of reporters, on Monday afternoon, at a final press conference before the big take-off scheduled for Thursday, shortly in the afternoon, since
Cap Canaveral, In Florida.

French astronaut, who became a rock star in France since his first stay on the ship International Space Station (ISS), Between November 2016 and June 2017, he returns on Thursday in space. Still heading to the International Space Station, a weightless laboratory 400 kilometers above Earth, he will join it for six months with three of his teammates: two Americans and a Japanese.

This time aboard Space X’s Crew Dragon

Mission Alpha – its codename – still offers something new upon launch. Thomas Pescet will not take off on the plane Russian Soyuz launcher, For his first assignment, but with
Star Ship The Crew Dragon 2 By Space X, the French will be the first European to travel on a capsule owned by billionaire Elon Musk. The crew will stay there 23 hours before reaching the International Space Station.

Change in size? “The audience might not have realized it, but Soyuz has two volumes: the cockpit, which we always see in photos taken from takeoff, and the living space above, where you can eat and sleep …, the French answer an astronaut. The Crew Dragon has only one. But.” This does not change much in the end, this single volume has become more spacious. ”In terms of driving, the Space X capsule is“ more modern, more automated, with ultra-comfortable information representation modules for the crew … ”, continues French.

A rehearsal took place on Sunday, the last one on Wednesday. “The rocket is ready, the spaceship too …” Thomas Pesquet assures us on Monday. The crew is happy and in good condition. […] Everything is fine so we can enjoy our last days on Earth before leaving the planet for six months. “

A second trip is more difficult than the first?

Who dreaded survival? Thomas Pesquet anyway looks cool in the takeoff segment. He replies, “I think the second trip will be more difficult than the first.” Physically, maybe not, because I feel like I’m in the best shape in my life right now, even though I’m a little bit older a few years. On the other hand, mentally speaking, Thomas Pesquet expects it to be more difficult. “For the first trip, we will be going an adventure, and we know it will be difficult because we told you about it and imagined it,” he says. But it is not clear how difficult it will be, what exactly and when. The second time, yes. “

The COVID-19 pandemic It did not help either. “It didn’t make preparation easy, because we found ourselves cut off from the training sessions,” says Thomas Pesquet. We have been preparing to leave our loved ones for six months but unfortunately, we have been in isolation for almost a year. It is not cool. Like everyone else, I have been hoping for more freedom in the past year. But of course, when you go into space, you can’t complain. “

Commander of the International Space Station for a period of three months

Especially since on board the International Space Station, Thomas Pesquet will never have time to get bored. More than a hundred science experiments await on board the International Space Station. “One of the things I love very much is the experiment with“ small brains. ”The space environment is like an accelerated model of aging, and it is wonderfully reversible, so we’ll try to look at its effects on the brain, by grouping cells in Petri dishes.

Four “out-of-vehicle” trips have been identified, the most important of which is the installation of new solar panels, “huge tubes weighing 350 kilograms”. Above all, Thomas Pesquet will command the International Space Station for several weeks near the end of his mission. In doing so, he will be the first Frenchman to command the International Space Station at the same time that, at the end of this second flight, he will become the Frenchman who has spent most of the time in space.

Photography to occupy free time?

Plenty for the official schedule. Thomas Pesquet will have to occupy Sundays and evenings. Why not by taking out his camera, as he is the one who took many beautiful pictures of Earth during his first visit to the International Space Station. This Monday, however, the French astronaut received a first order from college students Chamalières, In Puy-de-Dôme quoted by editor-in-chief of a magazine
Space and Exploration Journal : That photography
Chaîne des Puys It was formed by the volcanoes of Auvergne and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “We shall try,” Thomas Pescet promised, hoping that the station would pass through Puy de Dome during one of its breaks. “Let it be alright then.”

On astronaut dishes? From Thierry Marx!

To make those six months on the International Space Station enjoyable, we must also take care of the food. From this aspect there, Thomas Pesquet and his team members will be well taken care of… “For every European mission, national food is guaranteed from the countries of the astronauts involved in the mission,” explains Thomas Pesquet.

For this alpha mission, French gastronomy will be in the spotlight. “On my first assignment, we asked Thierry Marks Who prepared three dishes for me, the French astronaut continues. He did it all over again for this new mission with three new dishes. We also asked for Server – A caterer for Air France and several other airlines – to set up three more companies. »In the list then? “Beef bourguignon, almond pie with pear, sousseite pancakes, wheat eaters…” Thomas Pesquet’s menu.



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