French astronaut, Thomas Pesquet, has returned to Earth after six months in space on the International Space Station (ISS). He travelled 400 kilometres into the atmosphere to study space. However, it was his photographs of Earth that captured people’s imagination and awe.
His return to Earth on Friday 2 June 2017 took three hours and 20 minutes, with his Russian cosmonaut, Oleg Novitskiy, on the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft, which delivered the pair onto the steppes of Kazakhstan at around 2:10 pm GMT.
France’s National Centre for Space Studies in Paris followed his return to Earth.
Thomas Gautier Pesquet (1978) was born in Rouen in Normandy, France. He is an aerospace engineer, pilot, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut. He was selected in May 2009 as a candidate for the space program, and he completed his training in November 2010.
Prior to his space training, he graduated from a master’s degree in space systems and space vehicle mechanics in Toulouse at the Ecole nationale superieure de l’aeronautique et de l’espace. He also studied in Montreal, Canada, and graduated from the Air France flight school in 2006, which led to an Airline Transport Pilot License Instrument Rating.
Pesquet joined the ESA in 2009 and is the youngest member of the European Astronaut Corps.
In 2014 he was selected for a six-month mission on the International Space Station to start in November 2016.
During the mission he conducted two Extravehicular Activities (EVA) which required leaving the ISS to conduct repairs. The first EVA was 5 hours and 58 minutes to replace the ISS battery. The second EVA tof 6 hours and 34 minutes was designed to prepare the ISS Pressurized Mating Adaptor (IDA) for a commercial crew vehicle dockings.
His six-month mission was actually 196 days in space.
During this time he tweeted and took photographs of major cities as the ISS whizzed by.
Photographs of Earth by Thomas Pesquet
Official portrait of Expedition 50 ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet in a spacesuit (EMU) suit by NASA’s Bill Stafford.