The power of a childhood dream, the opportunity to realize it.
Sophie Adenot, retained Wednesday in the new promotion of astronauts of the European Space Agency (ESA), becomes the second French woman astronaut in history and walks in the footsteps of Claudie Haigneré.
“It's a pretty incredible moment, I've been dreaming of space since I was a little girl and the dream is becoming… Not even concrete today because it's hard to realize what's going on!
“, reacted Sophie Adenot in front of the press in Paris after the announcement of the selection which includes four other future astronauts, chosen from 22,000 candidates.
First female helicopter test pilot
The 40-year-old Frenchwoman is a helicopter test pilot from the Air Force.
After a childhood in Burgundy, this polyglot (she speaks English, German, Spanish and Russian) became an engineer and obtained a diploma from the National School of Aeronautics and Space.
Appointed lieutenant-colonel, she was the first female helicopter test pilot and now has 3,000 flight hours on 22 different types of helicopters.
“I was raised in a family where we were pushed to be curious about everything.
I grew up with the soul of an explorer, “said the mother of the family, in front of a swarm of cameras.
Her dream of space dates back to her youngest age, she had a single poster in her room: a rocket.
A journey inspired by pioneer Claudie Haigneré
It all started with “reading the biography of Marie Curie”, then, at the age of 14, Claudie Haigneré's first flight was “a real trigger”.
“I would never have arrived there if I had not had models”, greeted the astronaut, also paying tribute to “fantastic school teachers” who “helped her to have confidence”.
From her new profession, she expects "a lot of science, technology, and also to be able to pass on passion to young people".
“It's a new world, with a lot of unknowns, I'll learn the job as I go.
I am delighted to follow in the footsteps of Thomas Pesquet,” commented.
For his part, the star astronaut said he was “proud” to see a Frenchwoman selected, before saluting her career and that of Frenchman Arnaud Prost, who joined the ESA reserve corps.
“They have iron health, incredible skills, crazy CVs and above all, they passed psychological tests which scared me in retrospect,” said Thomas Pesquet.
With her four other comrades, Sophie Adenot will be called upon to fly into orbit, in the International Space Station (ISS), at first.
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