D-Day is coming: French astronaut Thomas Pesquet is in full readiness for his second flight, in April, at the International Space Station (ISS), aboard an American spacecraft from Space X, the first for a European.
From California, he told AFP his training, the Kovid was overturned by the epidemic.
Q: Your second Orbit mission, “Alpha”, is coming … Are you ready?
Answer: “The launch is getting closer, it is scheduled for April 20 for now, but the date is still subject to change. We are in a funnel process like this before take off. I just arrived from Russia, and I am today (Tuesday)) a new training session in Space X (Elon Musk’s company in Los Angeles, editor’s note), where we’ll really focus on the “Dragon” capsule that took me to the ISS along with three other astronauts Will. All the theoretical parts are behind. Us, so now we repeat the outward journey which is the most intense moment, which is considered the most dangerous: we are in the capsule with our spacesuit, everything is repeated in the simulator, the optimal scenario. In, but especially in the case things go badly if we do not manage to reach the classroom.
Unlike the Soyuz (Russian ship on which he flew for his first mission, editor’s note) that was driven by two, there are four of us so we shouldn’t step on each other’s toes … it Easy to choreography!
And then we will soon start becoming + guinea pigs for the hundred or so scientific experiments that make us wait there – our “mission”.
Question: Has the training been overturned by the epidemic?
Answer: “We are tested all the time, we are very careful … we are under a bubble all the time. Whatever can be done remotely (theory, etc.), we do it in front of our computer Are – I didn’t go to physically train especially in Japan, it’s a bit disappointing because the ISS is an international program, and what was fascinating was meeting people from all over the world. …
It made me think a lot about my future crew, because we have not been able to discover each other. Before that, it was outside of work that we really knew each other, going for survival training, or simply by inviting each other to dinner … it was about building a team and at home Was super useful for working properly. station.
Therefore, it is reassuring to fly with people I already know! Shane Kimbrez (American astronaut who commanded the capsule), we are friends. Ditto for Russian astronaut Oleg Nowitzki, we will meet in the station … and Meghan McArthur (United States), I know her less, but she has a lot of humor and it would be great to spend 200 days in space with her. In short, I am lucky to fly with these people, it gives a peace.
Once on board, I will try to get the better advantage of the first time I used to keep my head in the handlebar all the time… probably by taking fewer pictures outside of work time (laughs ..)! ”
Question: The European Space Agency (ESA) will recruit its future astronauts. What do you expect from this new promotion?
Answer: “I think we have a lot of progress in terms of equality, so I expect we will have 50% women. And I want to ask the candidates not to censor themselves to register for selection , Because there. There are already enough mechanisms in society that can censor women, minorities …
With the new generation, we will work as a team, on both ISS and future lunar missions: very important transmission work.
The Moon – for which I am a candidate, like all my colleagues – is an essential technical step but the ultimate destination for all of us is Mars. Because scientifically, this is where we will learn the most. Even if I feel optimistic for human exploration within 4 to 6 years (as Elon Musk projects, editor’s note). Fifteen years seems more appropriate to me ”.