1976: baccalaureate from Collège Militaire de Saint Cyr l’Ecole • 1978: mathematics degrees from the Prytanée Militaire, La Flèche, France • 1981: graduated from Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France • 1983: graduated from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace, Toulouse, France
Flight Test Engineer from Ecole du Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception (EPNER) Istres, France; Engineer for the Délégation Générale pour L’Armement (French defence procurement agency); Seconded to French space agency CNES; Selected as a CNES astronaut in 1985, joined ESA Astronaut Corps in 1992.
Senior advisor astronaut for the ESA Human Spaceflight Programme and as chairman of Novespace, a company that organises parabolic flights on the ZERO-G Airbus aircraft (simulating weightlessness for scientific and educational purposes). I am member of several organisations for the promotion of space exploration and for the protection of planet Earth.
European Space Agency
European Space Agency astronaut
I’m French and I was born in 1958. I flew three missions on board the US Space Shuttle: the first in 1994 to study the atmosphere, the second in 1997 to resupply the Russian space station Mir, and lastly in 1999 to repair the Hubble space telescope.
Each of my days are quite different from each other, as I share my time between very different activities such as: testing space equipment for future spaceflights (sometimes underwater), writing comments about technical documents, chairing the board of Novespace, giving talks and lectures in universities, as well as attending public or media events, participating in parabolic flights, and then trying to find time for family and sports activities!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Open-minded optimist explorer
What was your favourite subject at school?
Natural science. Because I have always enjoyed learning about how things exist, evolve, live and work.
What did you want to be after you left school?
Space exploration engineer
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Never in trouble, I always perceived school as an opportunity to learn and also to develop abstract thinking.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Spending time upside-down in the Space Shuttle cockpit, while it was itself flying inverted relative to Earth.