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N° 38–2016: Call for Media: Press events for ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet’s flight to the International Space Station

8 November 2016

On 17 November ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will become the 10th French astronaut to be launched into space, alongside Roscosmos commander Oleg Novitsky and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson.

Journalists and representatives of social media are invited to watch the launch in France at La Géode, Paris, and La Cité de l’Espace, Toulouse. Both events are organised in conjunction with France’s CNES space agency.

Thomas will be the first French astronaut to visit the Space Station since ESA astronaut Léopold Eyharts helped to install the Europe’s Columbus module in 2008.

A former airline pilot, Thomas will travel with his two crewmates to arrive at the Station, to be welcomed by the current resident crew of three. They will travel in a Soyuz MS spacecraft, a recently upgraded version of Russia’s workhorse that has been in service for almost 50 years.

The trio will blast off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan at 20:20 GMT and will arrive at the Station two days later.

Science is an important part of the mission. Thomas will conduct a wide range of experiments on the Station, an out-of-this world research outpost that serves as a stepping stone for human exploration.

His Proxima mission is the ninth long-duration mission for an ESA astronaut. It is named after the closest star to the Sun – continuing a tradition of naming missions with French astronauts after stars and constellations.

During Proxima, Thomas will perform more than 50 scientific experiments for ESA and CNES as well as take part in many research activities for the other Station partners.

Education and inspiring youngsters is another important part of his mission. Thomas is determined to make Proxima an exciting adventure for all his followers and work as an ambassador for science- and space-based careers.

School activities running alongside Thomas’s mission include elements of science or technology, from computer coding, growing crystals and maths demonstrations to fitness and nutrition.


Media wishing to attend one of these events, should register as follows:

La Géode

ESA: Nicola Firth


CNES: Pascale Bresson


La Cite de l’Espace

Florence Seroussi


Social media reporters should check here

that they meet the eligibility criteria and register at by 11 November.

For these purposes, social media representatives are defined as bloggers or other social networking users who actively collect, report, analyse and disseminate news and information on digital media platforms.


Follow online


ESA will cover the launch live on

Subscribe at to get notified ahead of the event about when streaming starts.


Social media

For live updates throughout the launch period, follow @esaspaceflight and @esa on Twitter and The official hashtag is #Proxima

Also follow Thomas on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

A Flickr album is available at:



ESA TV will provide broadcasters with a live satellite relay of the launch. Several stories have also been prepared on the mission:

  • ESA Astronauts training for ISS, 20 September
  • Thomas Pesquet training at Star City, 25 October
  • ESA Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, 28 October
  • Thomas Pesquet, Mission to ISS, 4 November
  • Proxima : Latest from Baikonur, 17 November (tbc)

Details at:



The latest high-resolution images can be found at:

ESA’s Multimedia Gallery:
ESA’s Photo Library for Professionals:

Media image queries can be directed to

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of which 20 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has established formal cooperation with seven other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more about ESA at

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Office

Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99