Who is Sophie Adenot, the French engineer destined for space?


Sophie Adenot is the second French woman astronaut in history, after Claudie Haigneré who made her first flight aboard the Mir station in 1996. She was one of five new astronauts selected to represent the European Space Agency (ESA).

The 40-year-old engineer from Burgundy was selected alongside one other woman and three men.

Picked from more than 22,000 candidates, they will join the seven active European astronauts, including Frenchman Thomas Pesquet.

"It's a pretty incredible moment, I've been dreaming of space since I was a little girl...it's hard to realize what's going on!" Sophie Adenot told the press after the announcement in Paris on Wednesday evening.

Raised to be curious about everything, Adenot grew up with the "soul of an explorer".

She graduated from the National School of Aeronautics and Space and has flown 3,000 flight hours as a helicopter test pilot in the Air Force.

Adenot also completed a masters at MIT in the United States on how to design a centrifuge to help astronauts train for different levels of gravity.

Role models, teachers

Her grandfather, a mechanic in the Air Force was one of the many people who inspired her.

"I would never have gotten there if I hadn't had role models," said the astronaut, pointing to the scientist Marie Curie and astronaut Claudie Haigneré.

From her new profession, she expects "a lot of science, technology, and also to be able to pass on passion to young people".

A waiting game

Read more on RFI English

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