Can astronauts challenge time?
Thursday 21 november 2019, 10:45am — Amphi Gaston Berger


Gennady Padalka

Gennady Padalka was selected as a cosmonaut candidate to start training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in 1989. From June 1989 to January 1991 he attended basic space training. Padalka currently has the world record for the most time spent in space, having spent 879 days in space. Gennady Padalka is a recipient of the Hero Star of the Russian Federation and the title of Russian Federation Test-Cosmonaut. He is decorated with Fatherland Service Medal fourth class, Medals of the Russian Federation and also Medal of the International Fund of Cosmonautics support for Service to Cosmonautics.

Jean-François Clervoy
Astronaut - ESA

Jean-François André Clervoy is a French engineer and a CNES and ESA astronaut. He is a veteran of three NASA Space Shuttle missions. Graduated from Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, in 1981, he became a member of the Corps of Armament. He is graduated from École nationale supérieure de l'aéronautique et de l'espace, Toulouse, in 1983 and graduated as a Flight Test Engineer from École du personnel navigant d'essais et de réception, Istres, in 1987. Clervoy is Ingénieur Général de l'Armement (in the French defense procurement agency DGA). In 1991, he trained in Star City, Moscow, on the Soyuz and Mir systems. In 1992, he joined the astronaut corps of the European Space Agency (ESA) at the European Astronaut Center EAC in Cologne. He flew twice aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis and once aboard Discovery for a total of 675 hours in space. Due to the difficulty that American astronauts had in pronouncing his name, Clervoy was nicknamed "Billy Bob."

Jean-Pierre Haigneré
Astronaut - ESA

Jean-Pierre Haigneré was selected as an astronaut by the CNES in September 1985. From 1986 to 1989 he headed the Manned Flight Division of the Hermes and Manned Flight Directorate, and took part in preliminary studies for the Hermes spaceplane. From December 1990 Jean-Pierre Haigneré underwent training at Star City, near Moscow, as a back-up crewmember for the French-Russian Antares spaceflight. He was selected as prime crew for the Altaïr mission in 1992, undergoing seven month training for a 21-day mission on board the Mir space station, which successfully took place from 1 to 22 July 1993. In 1995 and 1996, he was involved at the Kaliningrad Russian Space Control Centre in the operational aspects of the ESA Euromir 95 and French Cassiopée manned spaceflights. He then returned to France where he was in charge, as test pilot, of flight assessment of the new Airbus Zero-G aircraft. From 1997 till end of June 1998 Jean-Pierre Haigneré trained at Star City for the 6th French-Russian "Pegase" spaceflight. In June 1998, Jean-Pierre Haigneré joined ESA's European astronaut corps, whose homebase is ESA's European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. On 20 February 1999 the Soyuz TM29 was launched with Haigneré and his crew to the MIR station for the Perseus mission. He performed a six-months mission with Viktor Afanasyev and Sergej Avdeyev. They left MIR uninhabited in a stand-by mode and landed in Kazakhstan on 28 August 1999. In November 1999 he was assigned Head of the Astronaut Division at the EAC, Cologne.

Kay Hire
Astronaut - NASA

Kay Hire is a United States Navy Captain (retired) and NASA Astronaut (retired) with a career span of 38 years. As a graduate of the US Naval Academy and Naval Flight Officer training, she flew more than 3400 hours in a variety of aircraft during missions worldwide. In 1989 Kay began work at NASA Kennedy Space Center as a space shuttle engineer while she continued to serve in the Navy Reserve. In 1991 she earned an MS degree in Space Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology. Once United States combat exclusion laws were modified in 1993, Kay became the first female assigned to a U.S. military combat position, flying P-3 maritime patrol aircraft. Two years later, she reported to NASA Johnson Space Center for training with Astronaut Group 15. Kay flew 711 hours in space as mission specialist on two space shuttle missions, STS-90 Neurolab Research and STS-130 International Space Station construction. As founder and president of Astra Portolan Corporation, Kay now guides individuals and organizations to emerging opportunities.

Koichi Wakata
Astronaut - JAXA

Dr. Koichi Wakata received Aeronautical Engineering in 1987, Applied Mechanics in 1989, and Doctorate in Aerospace Engineering in 2004. In April 1992, Dr. Wakata was selected as an astronaut candidate by the National Space Development Agency of Japan. He served as the Chief of the Space Station Operations Branch of NASA's Astronaut Office from March 2010 to February 2011 as well as the Chief of the JAXA Astronaut Group from April 2010 to July 2012. In January, 1996, Dr. Wakata flew as the first Japanese Mission Specialist on STS-72. In October 2000, he became the first Japanese astronaut to work on the ISS assembly on STS-92. In July 2006, he served as the Commander of the 10th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) mission. From March to July, 2009, Dr. Wakata flew as the first resident ISS crew member from Japan and served as a Flight Engineer and the JAXA Science Officer on the crews of Expeditions 18, 19 and 20 as well as a Mission Specialist on STS-119 and STS-127 (2J/A). His duties during the four-and-half month flight included the installation of the S6 Truss, the final assembly of Kibo, a variety of experiment operation in science, engineering, art, and education, as well as ISS systems operations and maintenance. From November 7, 2013 to May 14, 2014, Dr. Wakata flew on his fourth spaceflight and served as a Flight Engineer on Soyuz TMA-11M and ISS Expedition 38 as well as Commander of the ISS for Expedition 39 on March 9, 2014 and became the first Japanese ISS Commander. He has accumulated 347 days 8 hours 33 minutes in space spanning four missions, setting a record in Japanese human space flight history for the longest stay in space. In April 2018, Dr. Wakata has named as JAXA Vice President and also Director General Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate.

Michel Tognini
Astronaut - ESA

Michel Ange-Charles Tognini (born September 30, 1949 in Vincennes, France) is a French test pilot, Brigadier General in the French Air Force, and a former CNES and ESA astronaut who serves from 01.01.2005 to 01.11.2011 as Head of the European Astronaut Centre of the European Space Agency. A veteran of two space flights, Tognini has logged a total of 19 days in space. Tognini has 4000 flight hours on 80 types of aircraft (mainly fighter aircraft including the MiG-25, Tupolev 154, Lightning MK-3 and MK-5, Gloster Meteor, and F-104).

Terry Virts
Astronaut - NASA

Over the course of his 16-year-career at NASA, Terry Virts piloted a space shuttle and commanded the International Space Station. Virts, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, considers Columbia, Maryland, his hometown. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Harvard Business School. He also was a member of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School class 98B at Edwards Air Force Base in California, and served as an experimental test pilot in the F-16 Combined Test Force there before being selected for the astronaut class of 2000. During his time on the ground at NASA, Virts served in a variety of technical assignments, including as the lead astronaut for the T-38 training jet program, chief of the astronaut office’s robotic branch and lead astronaut for the Space Launch System rocket program. In space, Virts served as space shuttle pilot for the STS-130 mission in 2010, helping to deliver the Tranquility module to the space station, along with its cupola bay windows. He then returned to the station in December of 2014, serving as flight engineer for Expedition 42, and commander on Expedition 43. Virts spent a total of 213 days space and conducted three spacewalks for a total of 19 hours and 2 minutes outside of the space station.


Gilles Dawidowicz

Gilles Dawidowicz is a geographer (Sorbonne University), specialized in planetary sciences. He has been campaigning since the 90s for a robotic exploration of the solar system bodies and is promoting the exploration of Mars. Former member of the Mars Society and its French chapter the Association Planète Mars, he has been president of the Triel Observatory for 5 years and has for many years chaired the Planetary Committee of the Société astronomique de France, of which he is the Secretary General since June 2018. Gilles is also co-author of popular works on Mars, Saturn and Northern lights. He regularly hosts major public meetings at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie (Paris) covering international space news.

The countdown starts early. At the beginning of the selection to become an astronaut, or even as soon as the idea of ​​making the trip out of the atmosphere crosses the mind of the candidate. Everything is then linked, step by step, success after success, until the ultimate consecration when the contender is part of the team, the one that brings together extraordinary human beings, ready to follow the training mission for an adventure into space. Many months of intensive preparation, with a meticulously planned program, still separate the future hero from the last seconds of the countdown. The astronaut has to keep making progress every day. A few hours before they take off, the crew are placed into quarantine. On the launching ramp, curled up in their seats, they will be propelled into space within the deadline imposed by the launching procedure. In less than nine minutes, they will travel at an orbital speed of 28,000 km / h and will pass around the Earth 16 times each day. The real mission has just begun. Whether it is to ensure proper operation of the instruments, to repair them, to carry out scientific experiments, to communicate with Earth, to interact with their teammates, to sleep, to eat, the astronauts evolve at a certain pace, a pace which is imposed upon them by the trials of space. Although they are very busy, the return to Earth, close to where their loved ones reside can sometimes seem so far away. At each stage, even during an extravehicular exit or the return trip to Earth: is it possible for astronauts to challenge time?
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