Ophélie Artaud / Photo credit: X 17:01 p.m., November 27, 2023A 24-year-old Frenchman will join NASA next January. Allan Petre, originally from Seine-Saint-Denis, has been selected to join the famous American space agency as an engineer. With his extraordinary career, the young man is already making a lot of noise, even in the highest echelons of the state.
A lot of work and a bit of nerve. That's how 24-year-old Allan Petre fulfilled his dream of joining NASA. Next January, this young man from Seine-Saint-Denis will move to California to work as an engineer for the American space agency. An extraordinary career that inspires admiration, even in the highest spheres of the State. "You are proof that you have to believe in your dreams," congratulated Emmanuel Macron, while Bruno Le Maire, who received him at Bercy, sees in him "a real model of success".
Passionate about aerospace from a very young age, Allan Petre spent hours "watching videos of Neil Armstrong and Apollo," he told Le Parisien. However, during his first years of study, he went for a DUT in business and administration management, far from his dream. After completing his first year, he decided to reorient himself towards his chosen field, considering that "it's now or never".
He contacted NASA "with a lot of nerve"
He then joined the DUT in thermal and energy engineering at the University of Paris Nanterre Ville-d'Avray, commuted two hours a day to his university, and worked as a salesman to pay for his studies, because his parents "did not have the means to help (him)". At the end of his DUT, he took competitive exams to enter engineering school, and tried to obtain a work-study program. His hard work continued to pay off, as the young man obtained both and took his first steps at Ariane Group, which opened the doors to aerospace.
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He then landed an internship at the prestigious University of Florida, in an astrophysics laboratory. "The experience was very rewarding, I learned a lot and the field that has fascinated me for a long time. Especially since during my internship the first data arrived from NASA's James Webb space telescope, launched by an Ariane rocket," Allan Petre told Le Parisien.
It was then that he set out to conquer NASA, which he contacted "with the nerve" to make selections. "For the University of Florida, I contacted the astrophysics researcher, I did the same with a NASA researcher whose work interested me a lot!" he explains. "That's a message I'd like to pass on to a lot of students: opportunities don't always come directly to us, we have to create them for ourselves."
"I'd rather be the first Allan Petre than the second Thomas Pesquet"
After many successful interviews, Allan Petre will join the Jet Propulsion Laboratory next January, "to work in planetary science on the next NASA missions, Veritas and Da Vinci+, which will be interplanetary probes sent to Venus," he explains. Although he admits that he does not yet realize what is happening, the young man continues to dream: "I am thinking about becoming an astronaut, like any engineer with a degree in aerospace," he explains to the media Booska-P. "Going to space is a dream too, so I'll do everything I can to make it happen."
But there is no question of seeing him as the next Thomas Pesquet: "I'd rather be the first Allan Petre than the second Thomas Pesquet," he insists. One thing is for sure, Allan Petre's great journey has only just begun.