He rose to the rank of "Space Star": Thomas Pesquet, who spent nearly 200 days in the International Space Station (ISS), gained the sympathy of the French by sharing with simplicity his adventure, via his photos and his messages on social networks.
The last time a French had been sent into space was in February 2008, with the flight of Léopold Eyharts, which had lasted only 48 days
Benjamin Pesquet, 39, of the European Astronaut Corps, "perfectly accomplished his mission," says Jan Wörner, the German director general of the European Space Agency (ESA) . "He has been very active and deserves the interest the public has in him, and he has certainly been a source of inspiration, not only in France," continues Jan Wörner.
Engineer and airline pilot Thomas Pesquet is "extremely good communicator, he does it with humility, saying + I am a man like the others," notes Nicolas Chamussy, president of Airbus Defense and Space.
Tenth Frenchman to go into space, Norman is a connected astronaut, like his colleagues of promotion recruited in 2009 by ESA
Throughout his stay in the ISS, from November 20, 2016 to June 2, 2017, he sent tweets to tell his life in the station and posted many photos showing the "beauty" of the Earth but also its "fragility".
It was seconded by the communication cell of the European Astronaut Center in Cologne (Germany), who was in charge of the shaping of its contents.
Next flight in 2021?
"Social networks play a big role "Now in the communication around space flights, agrees Jan Wörner. "But still you have to know how to use it and Thomas did it very well."
The astronaut currently has nearly 750,000 subscribers on Twitter, 479,000 on Instagram and is followed by 1.55 million people on Facebook
His activity on social media attracted some criticism at the time of his return, some wondering if he had not done too much, to the detriment of his scientific mission.
A reproach swept by Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of CNES, the French space agency. Thomas Pesquet has been on social networks "on his free time", evening or Sunday and this represents "a tiny time" compared to that devoted to scientific experiments, he argues.
In flight, the Astronaut has conducted many scientific experiments and made two spacewalks for ISS maintenance operations.
The other reason for Thomas Pesquet's popularity is his "cool" side, underlined both by those who know him and by those who have seen him on television or on the internet. "He gets on well with everyone", according to astronaut Jean-François Clervoy
In the list of the most influential French in the world in 2017, established by the magazine Vanity Fair, Thomas Pesquet arrives in fourth position.
Boss, serious, accomplished sportsman, polyglot, Thomas Pesquet masters his expression very well, which gives him, in the eyes of some, a profile a little too smooth.
But his journey in space brought him a certain gravity by making him experiment with "his senses" the "fragility of the planet", this "jewel", according to his words.
On his return, the astronaut of the ESA judged "irresponsible" the decision Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. And he multiplies since the declarations calling to "act quickly" in an attempt to limit the warming.
Thomas Pesquet also from now on in the eyes the glimmer of those who were in the space: "It is addictive, it is is a bit like a drug, once you have tasted it, you want to go back quickly. "
CNES boss Jean-Yves Le Gall thinks that the astronaut should be able to revolve in 2021." I'm negotiating his next flight in the ISS, "he says.
15/12/2017 11:07:31 –
Paris (AFP) –
© 2017 AFP