Faculté de Médecine (Paris-Cochin) and Faculté des Sciences (Paris-VII)
Doctor of medicine (rheumatology), PhD in neuroscience.
Rheumatology Clinic/Rehabilitation Dept & Sport Traumatology, Cochin Hospital, Paris. Neurosensory Physiology Lab, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris Selected as an astronaut by French space agency CNES, 1985 Joined ESA’s astronaut corps, 1999 Minister for Research and New Technologies, France, 2002-4 Minister for European Affairs and Secretary General for Franco-German Cooperation, 2004-5 CEO, Universcience, a French science museum Chair, Scientific Council, Collège des Bernardins (2014-16), Paris
Adviser to ESA Director General
European Space Agency
I’m a European astronaut, and I was the first French woman in space.
I had two spaceflights: 16 days on Mir Station in 1996 and 10 days on the International Space Station in 2001, both with training on the Russian side and travelling on a Soyuz rocket and capsule. After my space missions, I accepted to serve France as a minister twice (for Research and then European Affairs), and then I had the chance to be the head of two wonderful science museums in Paris. Now I’m back to space and Europe, supporting the strategic analysis and vision for ESA, including space exploration.
My Typical Day
I don’t really have a typical day.
Just my best efforts to contribute to make possible the exciting space adventure with excellent and fascinating science and with efficient applications for everyone on Earth. It can be attending conferences and PR events dedicated to science, technology, space, Europe and womens’ roles, and it can also be exchanges, networking, learning new topics with new ideas, giving support to projects, writing position papers, while trying to think and act ‘out of the box’.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, collectively-committed, audacious
What was your favourite subject at school?
Maths and Greek
What did you want to be after you left school?
Medical doctor and high-level sportsman (gymnast)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
It happened, but I found how to bounce back
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Playing in microgravity like a kid with bubbles of water, with backflips, double flips…