Astronaut, Tycoon, astronaut or astronaut? These four words refer to a complete person going into space. One astronaut is an American, one is a Chinese tycoon, one is a Russian astronaut and one is a European astronaut. The French who have traveled to space are therefore included in this latter category. Only ten of them have made this trip since their first flight on June 24, 1982, just forty years ago.
► Gene-loop creatine, first
A former Air Force brigadier general and fighter pilot, Jean-Loop Critian became the first Frenchman in 1982 and the first Western European in space. He took part in the Franco-Soviet PVH mission, traveling to the Salyut 7 space station.
Jean-Loup Chrétien, who remains the first except for Americans and Russians to depart additional vehicles, has operated three flights in space for a total of 43 days, 11 hours and 19 minutes. His visit in the middle of the Cold War paved the way for intense scientific cooperation between the French and the Soviets.
Patrick Boudry, studying
Patrick Boudry doubled as a gene-loop creatine on the PVH mission. He became the second French astronaut to take part in an American mission that also took a member of the Saudi royal family.
He is one of the few to have had dual experience in American training and Soviet training, which he described in an account, Live from space.
Michelle Tognini, Franco-American astronaut
Michelle Tognini flew from Baikonur to the Mir space station in July 1992. He then participated in the American mission STS-93, which put the lunar space telescope into orbit. After becoming head of the European Astronautical Center, he will hire Thomas Pesquet a few years later.
► Jean-Pierre Hagner, from space to cinema
In 1993, Jean-Pierre Hagner took part in the Altair mission, leaving Baikonur to join Mir. After going there for the second time in 1999, he became the one who spent the most time on the station besides Russian astronauts.
In 2009, he starred in a film in Riyadh Sattauf, The Beautiful Kids. Jean-Pierre Hagen is the second Frenchman to spend the most time in space, totaling 209 days, 12 hours and 25 minutes.
► Jean-Franোয়াois Clarevoy, an engineer in space
An engineer, Jean-Franোয়াois Clarevoy was selected as an astronaut by France in 1985. In November 1994, he took part in the American Atlas-3 mission, which studied the structure of the Earth’s atmosphere. In 1997, he went to Mir Station and then again in 1999 on a mission where he repaired the Hubble Space Telescope in 1999.
► Jean-Jacques Favier, physicist astronaut
After earning a doctorate in physics and metallurgy, Jean-Jacques Favier made a unique flight of 16 days and 21 hours on the space shuttle Colombia during the American mission STS-78.
Ud Claudie Haigneré, the first woman in space
Claudie Haigneré is a scientist, physician and neuroscientist. He was the Ministerial Representative for Studies in the Governments of Jean-Pierre Raffarin and the Ministerial Representative for European Affairs. Its first flight, which took place in 1996, brought it to the Russian Mir Orbital Station as part of the Franco-Russian Cassiope mission.
He did a lot of scientific experiments there. Her husband, Jean-Pierre Heigner, was the fourth Frenchman to go into space.
► Leopold Eiharts, the return of a general into space
The flight of Leopold Eiharts marked the return of the army among French astronauts. A fighter pilot, he made his maiden voyage to Mir station in 1998, during which time he conducted medical examinations. He then visited the International Space Station in 2008, to set up the European Columbus Laboratory there.
Philippe Perrin, assembler of the International Space Station
Philippe Perrin, an Airbus experimental pilot, became the 9th French astronaut in March 2002. During this mission, he made three outbound trips around the International Space Station.
াস Thomas Pesquet, the first French commander of the International Space Station
Aeronautical engineer and airline pilot, Thomas Pesquet flew to the International Space Station for the first time in 2016. A second mission, in October 2021, will even see him take command of the station, the first for a French citizen.
With 396 days, 11 hours and 34 minutes in space, Thomas Pesquet is the Frenchman who has spent the most time in space and the most spacewalks.