For Thomas Pesquet, European space exploration “it’s time to move on”

“In low orbit, around the Earth – about 500 km – we have had an uninterrupted human presence with the International Space Station for 20 years” (ISS), reminds the 44-year-old astronaut in Rome on the sidelines of a conference. “Today is the time for us, the institutional astronauts in Europe, our international partners, to move forward,” he said, adding that he hoped the “private sector would run after us.” “We are clearing the region so that it is conducive to European society,” he said.

Returning from his second mission to space in November, when he became the first Frenchman to be under ISS control, Thomas Pesquet could take part in the lunar mission as part of NASA’s ambitious program called Apollo’s sister Twin-Artemis, in reference to the historic mission. 1969 – Annexation of Canada, Japan and Europe We seem to be in a good configuration: we have a launcher, a capsule, a destination, everything is fine, “he noted.

In the picture, in the picture The most beautiful picture taken by Thomas Pesquet from space

The first unmanned test flight is scheduled for the summer of 2022, before a first manned flight in mid-2024, without landing on the moon, “to prepare trajectories”. “A flight from there every year, for the moment on the 2025-2026-2027 calendar, including flights to the moon. There, Europeans can talk about it,” the astronaut, recalling the technical difficulties of going into space, recalls “a series of small miracles.”

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There is no decision for the future

As a direct consequence of the war in Ukraine, the Russian-European Exomers mission was suspended in March by the European Space Agency (ESA). It provided for the launch of a rover bound for the Red Planet using a Russian Soyuz launcher. Asked about the consequences of the conflict during his conference, Thomas Pesquet emphasized the “combined intelligence” and “great solidarity” of the astronauts aboard. ISS “It hasn’t changed much among the crew (…)” We have friends across the border, we know each other, we’re in the same boat. ” “Today, we see that we are honoring the agreements reached a few years ago, but we are not deciding for the future.” , Recognizes Pesquet. Realizing that relying on others to access space has not always been easy (…) Today we think a lot about it “.

Among its many activities, astronauts are associated with the selection of the next class of European astronauts. More than 22,000 candidates have applied for only four to six permanent positions in the next promotion, which will be announced in November. ” In terms of type selection, reaching the finish line is still unbelievable “, he argues, since the criteria” really have not changed “since his election in 2009. These people who come from Spain, Italy, Germany, France, the Nordic countries, are very rich from all over the world, “he rejoiced.” Europeans, it’s the Erasmus generation, they have pegs on their bodies so it gives me confidence for the future. “

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