Astronaut Jean-Jacques Favier, the sixth French citizen to go into space during a flight aboard the US shuttle Columbia, has died at the age of 73, the National Center for Space Studies announced on Friday.
Physicist and engineer, Jean-Jacques Favier was selected in 1985 as an “experimental astronaut” by the French Space Agency, when he was a research engineer at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
Within the CNES, he became the scientific director of the Mephisto space furnace, which flew several times on the space shuttle Columbia. In 1995, he was appointed as a specialist astronaut to conduct an experiment in the Spacelab, which was flown by the American ship.
He spent 16 days, 21 hours and 48 minutes in orbit, from June 20 to July 7, 1996. That is, 14 years after Jean-Loup Chretien, the first Frenchman who flew into space on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Thus, Jean-Jacques Favier becomes “the first French scientist to have stayed in space”, as the French National Center for Space Studies defines, in recognition of his “exemplary career”.
“He will leave his mark on future generations and inspire many of us,” CNES CEO Philippe Baptiste adds in the press release.
During his mission, Jean-Jacques Favier was responsible for more than 30 physics experiments in microgravity.
After his career as an astronaut, he became involved in education and research, notably working on a CNES project to prepare a future lunar and/or Martian base.
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