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French astronaut Sophie Adeno will travel to the ISS in 2026.

A quarter of a century later, a French woman in space! In 2026, astronaut Sophie Adeno will become the country’s second woman to reach Earth’s orbit, succeeding Claudie Haignere, whose second flight ended in 2001. Her assignment to the mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) was announced this Wednesday, May 22, in the afternoon. , during the European Space Agency (ESA) Space Council, which runs until Thursday, May 23, in Brussels, Belgium.

“This is incredible! I really don’t have enough words to describe how happy I am,” Sophie Adeno said in a pre-recorded message. “It’s definitely an honor, a big responsibility and a new step in my career, and it will be an incredible adventure!” The 40-year-old The woman, who received her astronaut certificate just a month ago at the end of her year of training, will become the first of her small class of European astronauts (there are five of them!) to join the ISS.

videoWho is Sophie Adeno, the new French astronaut?

His Belgian companion Raphael Liégeois is due to fly to the station immediately, also in 2026, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said this Wednesday, May 22. While it’s too early to speculate on filming windows, the station typically rotates during the off-season (particularly to avoid a mid-winter emergency return): Sophie Adeno could leave in the spring of 2026. .

Trained in Houston at NASA.

Today is a race against time to prepare for a specific mission that she knows will be “tight and intense” but says she is “ready.” “Two years is more than enough to pass all the mandatory tests,” astronaut Philippe Perrin assures, praising the profile of the engineer, also a colonel in the Aerospace Forces. “No need to wait. She is overqualified in her professional life. She has all the skills: she has the right attitude, she knows how to work in a team, how we integrate, how we let others speak, how we communicate with the earth, she knows the protocol, she has a sharp mind…” says the polytechnician.

“She is brilliant and knew how to steer her career wisely,” adds astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy, who says he is “delighted and proud.” The engineer, CEO of Novespace, a company offering microgravity flights, testifies to the “glory of French astronauts, well trained for the profession and recognized by NASA.”

After completing his studies in Cologne, Germany, his studies will primarily take place in the United States. Images broadcast on Wednesday in Brussels showed the two astronauts at the US space agency’s Houston premises, where their training had already begun. “We were greeted very warmly,” Sophie Adeno said on this occasion.

She can claim a trip to the moon.

And after the ISS? Theoretically, the elders of the previous campaign, Tom Pesquet, those who have already experienced weightlessness on board the ISS, are allowed to dream about the Moon. The American Artemis program, which plans to return people to the Earth’s satellite, does include several “tickets” for European astronauts.

But according to Philippe Perrin, Sophie Adeno could qualify for such a journey: “The fact that she flies fast in her promo gives her the chance to one day fly to the moon. ” Jean-François Clervoy deciphers: “There is a rotation. Once you return to Earth, your name will be moved to the bottom of the list, so it will be in a good place. “If he notes that at 41 years old, the native of Nièvre is the oldest in her class, she also has “about twenty years and three or four missions ahead of her” because “age is no longer a problem”, “there are astronauts who fly again at 60.”

“This is very promising and it makes me even happier because she has the profile of an innovative astronaut that is suitable for this type of new mission,” says Philippe Perrin. “She flew Caracal helicopters in Afghanistan. She knows what it’s like to be under combat stress. She was the first female helicopter test pilot in France, which is quite a lot,” continues the author of the book “En apesanteur”, published in April by Michel Lafon and with a foreword by a certain… Sophie Adeneau. In a short text, she tells how, as a student and with stars in her eyes, she attended the takeoff of Philippe Perrin, one of the ISS presenters, in 2002. He remembers it too: “I already asked Sophie to attend his presentation. »

Will the Frenchwoman one day be equipped with a European cargo ship? Because good news never comes alone, on Tuesday, May 21, ESA announced the names of two European companies that will be able to develop cargo transport to and from the ISS from 2028. And there too: cocorico! The two elected officials are the French-Italian group Thales Alenia Space and the French-German company The Exploration Company.

Source: Le Parisien

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