Paris (AFP)

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 announced on Twitter on Tuesday.

"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 in Florida.

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.

Thomas Pesquet has already trained on simulators at Space X, Elon Musk's company based in California.

In the "futuristic cockpit" of Crew Dragon, equipped with 100% touch screens, "it remains only to install the application + launch + on the giant tablets", tweeted, enthusiastically, the astronaut. The 42-year-old engineer and airline pilot carried out his first mission aboard the ISS in 2016-2017, called "Proxima", for six months.

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