Bringing Columbus to life
Selected in 1990 by CNES, French astronaut Léopold Eyharts has already flown in space, spending 19 days on the Mir space station in 1998. During this 1st mission he accomplished a full programme of life and physical sciences experiments initiated by Claudie André-Deshays on a previous flight, for which he had been her back-up.
In August 1998, Léopold Eyharts entered ESA’s Astronaut Corps and joined a class of NASA astronaut candidates in Houston with 3 fellow European astronauts.
After the departure of the shuttle, he will be charged with bringing the module to life and activating its science experiment racks.
“More at ease”
Currently at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Léopold Eyharts started mission specialist training last August. Thanks to his previous flight experience on Mir, he is looking forward calmly to his 2nd flight. “Spaceflight experience is always useful, because we already know all the tiny details of life on board.”
When asked about future projects like a return to the Moon, Léopold Eyharts says it’s too early to tell what decisions will be taken. While he doubts he will be among those flying on such missions, he believes the experience gained today is a worthy investment for the future. “2007 will be a milestone for human spaceflight in Europe.