Thomas Pesquet to fly to the ISS in 2016
19 March 2014
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet has been assigned to a long-duration mission on the International Space Station in 2016.
With his assignment, all six ESA astronauts from the class of 2009 will have flown to the Station on missions within seven years of graduation.
Born in Rouen, France, Thomas will be the 10th Frenchman to go to space, following Léopold Eyharts who supported the commissioning and first utilisation of ESA’s Columbus microgravity laboratory on the Space Station.
During Thomas’ mission, an atomic clock will be installed on the Station to connect with other atomic clocks on Earth to test Einstein’s theory of relativity and allow even more accurate world timekeeping. The results could double the accuracy of satellite navigation, allowing us to pinpoint our location on Earth with even higher precision.
Thomas studied as an aerospace engineer before working as a commercial airline pilot.
Thomas comments on his assignment: “I am happy to have been selected for a mission but this is just the start of a new phase for me – there is a lot of work to do and a lot to learn before my flight. “I will consider my dream complete when I am working on the International Space Station.”