ESA astronaut Léopold Eyharts, from France, in front of a Space Shuttle orbiter mock-up during training at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, in June 2006.
A test pilot in the French Air Force, Léopold Eyharts has logged 3 500 hours flying time on over 50 types of aircraft, before being selected as an astronaut by the French National Space Agency (CNES) in 1990. He was then assigned to support the Hermes space plane programme and became one of the test pilots and engineer in charge of the CNES parabolic flight programme.
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 'Buran' Space Shuttle training in Moscow, where he flew in the Tupolev 154 Buran in-flight simulator.
In July 1994, he was assigned as a back-up crewmember for the Franco-Russian Cassiopée space flight, flown in August 1996, and in December 1996, he was selected for the CNES follow-on scientific space Pégase mission to Mir, from 29 January to 19 February 1998.
In August 1998, Léopold Eyharts joined ESA's Astronaut Corps at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. He was assigned to train at JSC, and entered the 1998 Mission Specialist Class.
Léopold Eyharts received technical assignments within NASA Astronaut Office at JSC. He worked in the ISS Operations Branch as a section chief for ISS systems, software and on board information technology.
From October 2004 to June 2006, he trained as Thomas Reiter's backup for the Astrolab Mission. He is now training for future long-duration missions to the ISS.