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French astronaut, Thomas Pesquet preparing for "zero gravity" flight

French astronaut, Thomas Pesquet preparing for "zero gravity" flight

France

Since his return from the International Space Station last year, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet has been training to fly the Airbus “Zero-G” plane, which recreates the weightless conditions of space flight.

As he prepares to start his new job he took part in a special flight with members of the public who had paid 6,000 euros per ticket for an out-of-this-world experience.

Thomas Pesquet, French Astronaut saying

For me, it is interesting while waiting maybe for the chance to go back into space.It allows me to remain active.It's still an incredible experience even as a pilot, a lot of people are lucky enough to do this, I am at the crossroad of my life as a pilot of Airbus, and my life as an astronaut now.

“For me, it is interesting while waiting maybe for the chance to go back into space.It allows me to remain active.It’s still an incredible experience even as a pilot, a lot of people are lucky enough to do this, I am at the crossroad of my life as a pilot of Airbus, and my life as an astronaut now. “

The aircraft, unique in Europe, has been adapted to perform parabolic flights that enables the plane to rise 50 degrees, then making it descend in the same way, to recreate the conditions of weightlessness.

These flights, specifically for scientific research, are sometimes open to the general public.

Thomas Pesquet, French Astronaut saying

For me, it is interesting while waiting maybe for the chance to go back into space.It allows me to remain active.It's still an incredible experience even as a pilot, a lot of people are lucky enough to do this, I am at the crossroad of my life as a pilot of Airbus, and my life as an astronaut now.

“It i s very impressive, … the nose of the plane goes up a lot and comes down a lot, we do not usually see it in airliners but it is fully mastered. It’s more impressive in the cockpit than inside the plane, inside when you’re floating you do not see all that, but in the cockpit it’s something special. “

After a month on a flight simulator at the Airbus Group training center in Toulouse, he is now in the process of obtaining his qualification.

Thomas Pesquet, French Astronaut saying,

Here we go! We have started. It brings back a lot of memories. It’s like being on the International Space Station. It doesn’t last long, but we are in freefall. We are in freefall around the earth in the Space Station, today we are in an aeroplane but it’s the same thing. Nothing would stop us , if it were not for the fact that the plane has to go back to normal altitude. At the Space Station this just goes on, but it is the same idea.”

Once qualified for this type of flight, Pesquet 39, will take up his duties flying the plane in March 2018 for the next campaign of scientific experiments organized by Novespace.

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