First space mission in 2026 for astronaut Sophie Adenot, second French woman to go into space

Sophie Adenot will carry out her first space mission in 2026, the European Space Agency announced this Wednesday from Brussels. The Frenchwoman will be the first of five European astronauts who have just graduated to sit at the top of a rocket, heading for the International Space Station (ISS).

“It’s incredible”she reacted in a message posted on social networks. “It’s going to be a big adventure, which starts now: two years of intense training, scientific experiments to learn, but I’m ready for it”.

At 41, Sophie Adenot received his astronaut wings last April, at the astronaut training center in Cologne, Germany. A year and a half earlier, she was still a test pilot at the Cazaux air base, on the Arcachon Bay. She was the first woman to gain test pilot status.

Until takeoff, it will continue its journey mainly across the Atlantic. She will also have to familiarize herself with the two capsules likely to transport her in 2026: Crew Dragon, developed by SpaceX, or Staliner, from Boeign, which must be certified these days thanks to a final test flight.

The second French woman to leave

Sophie Adenot will be the second French woman to travel into space, 25 years later Claudie Haigneré who, after a first stay in the MIR station in 1991, spent eight days aboard the International Space Station at the end of 2001. Eight other French people have gone to space since the 1980s: the first, Jean-Loup Chrétien, spent 43 days there, the last, Thomas Pesquet, landed at the end of 2021 after a six-month mission in the International Space Station. Once her mission is completed, Sophie Adenot will then leave her place on the ISS to another classmate, the Belgian Raphaël Liégeois.

In November 2022, the Frenchwoman was selected among the 22,500 applications sent to the European Space Agency. It had been testing helicopters for three years at air base 120 in Gironde. Sophie Adenot had already passed through Cazaux between 2008 and 2012 to pilot Caracal helicopters of the Pyrenees military squadron, and to participate in rescue flights for people in hostile environments, particularly in the desert.

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