Born 28 April 1957, in Biarritz, France. He is married and has one child. His hobbies are jogging, mountain biking, tennis, reading and computers.
Graduated as an engineer from the French Air Force Academy of Salon-de-Provence in 1979. He qualified as a fighter pilot in Tours in 1980 and graduated from the French test pilot school (EPNER) in Istres in 1988.
Léopold has been decorated as Officer of the French Légion d’Honneur and Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite. He has been awarded the Médaille d'Outre-Mer, the Silver Medal of the Défense Nationale and the Russian medals for Friendship and Courage.
He joined the French Air Force Academy of Salon-de-Provence and graduated as an aeronautical engineer in 1979. In 1980 he became a fighter pilot assigned to an operational Jaguar A squadron in Istres Air Force Base (France). In 1985, he was assigned as a flight commander at Saint-Dizier Air Force base.
In 1988 he graduated as a test pilot in the French test pilot school (EPNER) and was assigned to the Brétigny-sur-Orge Flight Test Centre near Paris, becoming Chief Test Pilot in 1990.
Eyharts has logged 3800 hours flying time on over 50 types of aircraft and 21 parachute jumps including one ejection. He holds a commission as General in the French Air Force.
In 1990, Léopold Eyharts was selected as an astronaut by the French National Space Agency (CNES) and assigned to support the Hermes space plane programme managed by the Hermes Crew Office in Toulouse. He became also one of the test pilots and engineer in charge of the CNES parabolic flight programme (with Caravelle aircraft) and also carried out Airbus A300 Zero-G qualification flights.
Léopold Eyharts underwent two short-duration training sessions at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow in 1991 and 1993, and took part in an evaluation of Russian 'Bouran' Space Shuttle training in Moscow, where he flew in the Tupulev 154 Bouran in-flight simulator.
In 1992, he participated in the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut selection.
In July 1994, he was assigned as a back-up crewmember for the Franco-Russian Cassiopée spaceflight, which took place in August 1996. In December 1996, he was selected as cosmonaut for the CNES follow-on scientific space mission called Pegase, which took place from 29 January to 19 February 1998.
In August 1998, Léopold Eyharts joined ESA's European Astronaut Corps whose homebase is the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) located in Cologne, Germany. He was assigned to train at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and entered the 1998 Mission Specialist Class.
Léopold Eyharts received technical assignments within NASA Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center, Houston. He is currently working in the ISS Operations Branch as a section chief for ISS systems, software and on board information technology.
Léopold Eyharts was assigned as backup of Thomas Reiter for ESA's first long duration mission to the International Space Station which took place between 4 July and 22 December 2006. From October 2004 Eyharts trained together with his American and Russian backup crewmembers at Yuri A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow and at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston.
Mission to the Russian Mir Space Station (29 January to 19 February 1998). During this Franco-Russian mission called Pegase, he performed various French experiments in the area of medical research, neuroscience, biology, fluid physics and technology.
Léopold Eyharts’ second spaceflight was a nearly two-month ISS mission to deliver the European Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station. He flew to the ISS with Space Shuttle Atlantis on flight STS-122 together with another ESA astronaut Hans Schlegel. Launch took place on 7 February 2008. Eyharts returned to Earth with Space Shuttle flight STS-123 on March 27.
One of Eyharts’ tasks on board as member of the Expedition 16 resident crew was to support the docking of the Columbus laboratory and devoted a large part of his time then to activation and checking of the Columbus module and its racks in order to start up actual science experimentation inside the laboratory. As an ISS crew member, he also contributed to certain international science experiments and to maintenance of the Station’s equipment.
With the arrival at the ISS of STS-123 on March 13, Eyharts swapped crew assignment again. As a qualified mission specialist in robotics, Eyharts contributed to the STS-123 assembly mission as operator of the Station’s robotic arm. Together with other crew members, they added a new Japanese Experiment Logistics Module and supported the assembly and activation of a Candian-built robotic telemanipulator. Eyharts was the second ESA astronaut to have become part of the resident ISS crew.
Eyharts is currently performing postflight activities.