SPACE

'An incredible feeling' Pesquet says of voyage to ISS aboard Crew Dragon

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, a member of the SpaceX's Crew Dragon, speaks from the International Space Station on 30 April, 2021.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, a member of the SpaceX's Crew Dragon, speaks from the International Space Station on 30 April, 2021. © EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / AFP

A week after his arrival at the International Space Station (ISS), French astronaut Thomas Pesquet has said being in orbit aboard the famous space lab was his “second home”.

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The 43-year-old European Space Agency veteran was floating in zero gravity on Friday as he updated the world on his second mission to the ISS during a live press conference.

"If you like thrills, this is the best you can do,” Pesquet said of his 24-hour journey aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which was propelled into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket booster recycled from a previous spaceflight.

"It was a really great moment and we all had huge smiles; we were laughing in the capsule, being serious of course, but just because it was an incredible feeling.” 

'Spacious machine'

While the Falcon rocket has been launched more than 100 times since 2010, this was only SpaceX’s third mission with a Crew Dragon capsule – which Pesquet described as a "super comfortable" and "rather spacious" machine.

"It's really like a modern car with flat touch screens," Pesquet said, adding it made a nice change from the “ugly and functional things” that astronauts had gotten accustomed to in space.

The ride was smooth apart from an incident during which Pesquet and his three crewmates – Nasa astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide – were warned of a collision risk with unidentified debris.

It turned out to be a false alarm, but a worthwhile training drill.

Commander role

Towards the end of his six-month mission, codenamed Alpha, Pesquet will become the first French astronaut to serve as an ISS commander – an important role that makes him responsible for both the safety of the crew and the space station.

“It's like a ship,” Pesquet told RFI last month. “After God, there is only one master on board.”

More than a hundred scientific experiments await Pesquet and his team, as well as four scheduled spacewalks.

Fans can keep updated via social media, where Pesquet has been documenting his extraordinary daily activities through photos and videos.

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