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Thomas Pesket became the first Frenchman to head the International Space Station

Thomas Pesket became the first Frenchman to head the International Space Station

He would not celebrate it with little fanfare and big fanfare with champagne. No, the first legacy of occupying the post in 2000, only a small bell rang on Monday, October 4, at the throne Thomas Baskett Commander of the International Space Station.

Once inside the ISS as the 53rd astronaut to hold this title. But for national pride, this is an important day, because the astronaut of Norman descent was the first Frenchman to reach the ceremony, and only the 4th European.

At 9:20 pm Paris time, he is the heir to the Japanese Akihiko Hossain who traveled in the Crew Dragon last April. This is not the first handover of power between the two men, and the latter marked the culmination of the Olympic Games in the gap between Tokyo and Paris last August.

Boss on board in case of emergency

This new task is not just code. If the Director of Aviation, on the ground, is the “leader” who guides all operations, then the CNES means that the Captain must ensure that all members of the ISS are in operation. .

In the event of a fire or problem, Thomas Baskett must do his boss hat and direct operations, respecting a specific order: Save the crew, ISS then work. “Control the ISS; it’s a responsibility. A responsibility and a great honor!” Says Frank de Vin, the first European astronaut to take on the role in 2009.

A new mission for the Frenchman, he could discuss his feelings with 200 students from the beginning of the next day until high school, a few weeks before he returned to Earth, gathered at the Citte de Espace.

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