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Sophie Adino officially receives her “wings” and will be able to fly in space by 2030

Sophie Adino officially receives her “wings” and will be able to fly in space by 2030

Monday, April 22, Cologne (Germany). The European Space Agency's Astronaut Training Center, EAC, opens with a special ceremony: the presentation CertificatesCertificates For the new promotion for astronauts. The previous ceremony dates back to 2010, and it was Thomas PesquetThomas Pesquet Who has officially received his wings.

First flight between 2026 and 2030

The EAC reception hall is packed. In addition to the officials, there were many journalists and teams who supported the basic training as well as families. Also present were Thomas Pesquet, Matthias Maurer and Alexandre Gerst who led the entire training.

As a prelude, the Director General of the European Space Agency announced when the first flights of the new generation will take place: the first flight in 2026, and all of them will have flown at least once by 2030. Each of the new flights will carry out long missions on the International Space Station, while focusing Thomas Pesquet's gradual promotion to the moon GateGate And Artemis.

Replay of the concert on ESA TV. © European Space Agency

ESA's astronaut corps now has 11 official astronauts, including the Class of 2009:

  • Thomas Pesquet (France);
  • Samantha Cristoforetti (Italy);
  • Alexander Gerst (Germany);
  • Luca Parmitano (Italy);
  • Andreas Mogensen (Denmark);
  • Matthias Maurer (Germany).

They have all flown twice on the International Space Station. Added to these are five new ones selected in November 2022:

  • Sophie Adino (France);
  • Raphael Liegua (Belgium);
  • Rosemary Coogan (UK);
  • Pablo Alvarez Fernandez (Spain);
  • Marco Siber (Switzerland).

Meeting with astronaut Pablo Alvarez Fernandez

Hoppers: Kangaroos of the East African Community

Added to these new upgrades are Catherine Pennel Page, from the Australian Space Agency. She is not part of the European Space Agency's astronaut team, but was able to benefit from basic training after an agreement between the two agencies. Thus, you will be able to carry out short missions with Axiom Space, for example, or a long mission, as Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi was able to do, in agreement with the partners of the International Space Station.

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Just like Thomas Pesquet's promotion – which was named Tricks –the class of 2022 also has a team name: Hoppers. This name, traditionally attributed to the previous promotion, refers specifically to “ Subordinate [faux] KangarooKangaroo They got lost with an astronaut helmet on their heads and ScatterScatter Throughout the East African Community “, according to Alexander Gerst. Of course, we owe the existence of these kangaroos to Catherine Pennell Page.

Catherine Pennel Page is fully integrated into the capsule collection. His presence allowed this new promotion to be completely equal (three men and three women), the first of its kind.

Graduation is full of emotions

The current head of the ESA Astronaut Corps, former Belgian astronaut Frank de Win, explained that many other training courses are planned, in particular to complement everything that the candidates have learned from the International Space Station, and to deepen their knowledge in the event of a dangerous situation. Or a complex operation, such as going underwater.

Finally, the certificatecertificate Amidst warm applause from the audience, and below eyeseyes Proud of families. This was done in three steps:

  • Alexander Gerst applies the patch Hoppers on the astronaut's shoulder to welcome him to the ESA astronaut team;
  • Daniel Neuenschwander (Director of Human Exploration and… RoboticsRobotics From the European Space Agency), puts the patch ” wings » (wings) on the astronaut's torso, giving him back his candidate astronaut wings;
  • General Manager Joseph Aschbacher hand-delivers the certificate.

One year of “basic training”

This ceremony concludes a year of continuous and intensive training, which began on April 3, 2023. During which the candidates have followed countless training and practical courses. In particular, they took courses in all areas of space culture: physical sciences, astrophysics, biology, medicine, earth sciences, etc.

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Since they will be making trips on the International Space Station, they had to learn Russian (one of the station's official languages) in just two months. As the agency's first ambassadors, they were of course informed about all ESA programmes.

Some pictures of the lessons and exercises that were carried out during the training. © European Space Agency

Sophie Adino and her colleagues underwent numerous training courses on operating the International Space Station. In particular, they learned to fly with their arms. They were able to tour various European control centers, as well as the European Space Agency's Astronaut Training Center in Houston. Among the exercises, there are long hours of diving in a swimming pool to simulate a space walk.

the Hoppers He also completed two survival courses, one at sea and one in the snow in the mountains. Everyone attested to the great camaraderie that developed in the group. They can't wait to resume training and prepare for their first flights.