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Science & Exploration

N° 14–2017: Call for media: Thomas Pesquet’s return to Earth after 6 months in space

17 May 2017

Media are invited to ESA’s European Astronaut Centre on Friday, 2 June, to witness the return to Earth of Thomas Pesquet. The events include a live viewing of the capsule’s landing, a photo opportunity with Thomas Pesquet on arrival of the ESA aircraft in Cologne and a press conference three days after return.




ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian Soyuz commander Oleg Novitskiy will return to Earth on Friday, 2 June, concluding their six-month stay on the International Space Station. After a three-hour journey in their Soyuz spacecraft, they will land in the Kazakh steppe at approximately 14:09 GMT (16:09 CEST). Media will have the opportunity to witness the landing live from the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) together with the astronaut’s colleagues and friends. On this occasion, media are invited to interview ESA experts, who can provide more information about his training, his mission and his return to Earth.


A few hours after landing, Thomas will continue his journey to EAC, the home base of all ESA astronauts, in Cologne, Germany. Thomas will be the ninth ESA astronaut to complete a long-duration mission in space and he will be the fourth after Alexander Gerst, Andreas Mogensen and Tim Peake to fly directly back to Cologne where he is expected to land at approximately 02:00 GMT (04:00 CEST) on Saturday, 3 June. There is a photo opportunity upon the arrival of Thomas Pesquet on the tarmac.


Thomas will spend his first night back on Earth at the Envihab facility of the DLR German Aerospace Center, where ESA’s medical team will monitor how he readapts to gravity after months in weightlessness and scientists will gather to continue the science programme, collecting data on Thomas’ rehabilitation phase.


The first press conference with Thomas Pesquet is scheduled to take place at EAC on Tuesday, 6 June, around 08:30 GMT (10:30 CEST). This will be a 45-minute Q&A session. For operational reasons, there will be no one-to-one interviews with Thomas.


Accreditation for access to EAC on 2 June and 6 June, as well as for access to the airport on 3 June, will be organised by ESA.


Press registration:

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. Slovenia is an Associate Member.

ESA has established formal cooperation with six 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 as well as with EUMETSAT for the development of meteorological missions.

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. ESA also has a strong applications programme developing services in the Earth observation, navigation and telecommunications domain.

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For further information:
ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99