The European Space Agency (ESA) unveiled its new class of career astronauts on Wednesday, selecting France's Sophie Adenot and four other candidates from a list of more than 22,500 applicants. A helicopter pilot in the French army, Adenot becomes France's second woman astronaut after Claudie Haigneré. She spoke to FRANCE 24 about reaching this historic milestone, what inspired her to become an astronaut and why she feels space exploration is important.
Despite making history, 40-year-old Adenot is determined to simply get on with the job. "I'm here to be a scientist and to operate highly innovate technology on board the Space Station alongside our partners from the European Space Agency. So the idea is to become an ambassador, yes of course, but not a star," she told FRANCE 24's James André.
"It all started as a little girl's dream, sitting on the knees of her grandpa, watching the sky and the stars. But I didn't wake up one day saying 'I will be an astronaut'. [It happened] very progressively. I read a lot of biographies. The first one was Marie Curie and I decided that I wanted to go into science and try to have an impact on society through science, although it was very far away. The other trigger for me was the biography of Claudie Haigneré (the first Frenchwoman in space). I was 14 years old when she took off and it was really a trigger for me, I decided I wanted to go along this path," Adenot explained.
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