The French astronaut will be the first European to fly aboard Space X’s new American Crew Dragon capsule.
It’s now official: French astronaut Thomas Pesquet will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) in spring 2021, aboard Space X’s new American Crew Dragon capsule, for his second mission, he said. announced Tuesday on Twitter.
“End of the suspense: it is with the Crew Dragon of Space X that I will take off next year!” announced the astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA), who will be the first European to fly on this vehicle, finally chosen against that of Boeing. Thomas Pesquet is scheduled to take off in spring 2021 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
End of the Russian space monopoly
The launch of the first capsule of the private American group Space X to the ISS, last May with two astronauts from NASA, marked the end of the Russian space monopoly for manned flights. Since the stoppage of American shuttle flights in 2011, the residents of the Station all left the Baikonur cosmodrome.
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Thomas Pesquet has already trained on simulators at Space X, Elon Musk’s company based in California. In Crew Dragon’s “futuristic cockpit”, equipped with 100% touch screens, “all you have to do is install the ‘launch’ application on the giant tablets,” the astronaut tweeted enthusiastically. The 42-year-old engineer and airline pilot carried out his first mission aboard the ISS in 2016-2017, called “Proxima”, for six months.