Tue, 08 Jun 2021 16:34:00 +0200
A European in space – Thomas Pesquet in May
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Megan MacArthur run sessions on the Pilote experiment proposed by France’s space agency CNES in the European Columbus module of the International Space Station.
Continuing French neuroscience experiments started on the Russian space station Mir, the Pilote experiment evaluates a new way of providing tactile and visual feedback to astronauts when operating robots. Using a virtual reality headset and a haptic joystick can recreate the feeling of pressure and touch when tele-operating a robotic arm.
The results from Pilote will improve the work space on the International Space Station and future spacecraft for lunar and martian missions, where astronauts in orbit could operate rovers on the surface.
Watch a time lapse of the session here.
Over 200 experiments are planned for Thomas and crew, with 40 European ones and 12 new experiments led by CNES.
Read an overall of Thomas’ first month in space for mission Alpha, which included work on Pilote and other science experiments, organising Dragon cargo spacecraft deliveries, Space Station maintenance, not to mention daily exercise.
Fri, 04 Jun 2021 17:36:00 +0200
Samantha in command
With ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet in space for his first full month, let’s look at what he has been doing on the International Space Station in May.
Wed, 02 Jun 2021 10:29:00 +0200
Quiet please, future International Space Station commander in training. ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti prepares for her upcoming mission to the International Space Station at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas, USA.
Samantha is a member of Crew-4 and will launch with NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines to the Station from Florida, USA, on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft in 2022.
This will be Samantha’s second mission in space after Futura in 2015 and she is expected to serve as Space Station commander for Expedition 68a, a first for her. Her experience will stand her in good stead as Europe’s first female in command of an International Space Station expedition.
Samantha said “I am humbled by my appointment to the position of commander and look forward to drawing on the experience I’ve gained in space and on Earth to lead a very capable team in orbit.”
She will be ESA’s fifth International Space Station commander and the fourth from ESA’s astronaut class of 2009.
Her nomination comes at a significant moment for European nationals of all genders, as ESA issues a rare call for new astronauts. The deadline for applications to ESA’s astronaut selection has just been extended to 18 June 2021, to accommodate the addition of Lithuania as an ESA Associate Member. For more information about ESA’s astronaut selection visit esa.int/yourwaytospace.
In the meantime, Samantha will continue training with all International Space Station partners in a programme that includes Space Station refreshers, science briefings, and Crew-4 launch preparation.
Watch a replay of a recent chat between Samantha and ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, David Parker, in which the pair answer some questions concerning her upcoming mission.