Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, balloon in hand, speaks live from space: The liftoff was an incredible feeling

 Sylvie Claire / April 29, 2021

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet spoke from the International Space Station this Friday during a press conference. The 43-year-old Frenchman, with a globe-shaped balloon in his hand, told what it is like to live with his fellow astronauts in space, one week after his takeoff for the ISS. The International Space Station is unusually crowded, with 11 occupants, as the newcomers will live for a few days with the crew of Crew-1, SpaceX's previous mission, before it returns to Earth.


We didn't waste any time, we have a busy schedule ahead of us. The six months will pass very quickly.


The liftoff was an incredible feeling. I hadn't experienced that for 4 years if you like fairground rides and strong sensations, a rocket takeoff is the best thing you can do it was a great moment


On Thursday, he shared surprising photos of a dinner on the International Space Station. The shots show the astronauts around a table loaded with victuals that float, due to the weightlessness. The 43-year-old shared on his Instagram account that it was not easy to get everyone into the frame.


This is the first time a SpaceX mission has carried a European astronaut to the ISS, and Thomas Pesquet praised the international cooperation that made it possible.


It's been 20 years since JAXA (Japanese space agency), ESA (European space agency), Nasa and Russian astronauts have been in space together, so it's historic what's happening today, he said. 


I would like to thank all the people who worked on this mission, he added in French.


Crew-2 members had taken off from the Kennedy Space Center some 23 hours earlier on Friday at dawn.


This performance is a new success for the private company SpaceX which has imposed itself on Nasa for space transportation, at a time when Boeing's Starliner capsule is accumulating delays in its test flights.


With the success in May 2020 of its first manned test flight, SpaceX has broken the Russian monopoly on flights to the ISS. It has given the Americans back the ability to accomplish this feat, after the end of the Shuttle space shuttle program in 2011.


Two Crew Dragon spacecraft are now parked side by side at the ISS, illustrating how SpaceX has become the U.S. space agency's primary transportation provider.


The Crew-2 mission is a milestone for Europe, which named it Alpha after the Alpha Centauri star system, the closest star system to our solar system.


During its six-month mission, the team will be responsible for conducting about 100 scientific experiments.


These will include so-called tissue chips - small models of human organs made up of different cell types and used to study such things as immune system aging, kidney function and muscle loss. 


The crew will also take 1.5 million images of the Earth, documenting phenomena such as artificial lighting at night, algal blooms, and the breaking up of Antarctic ice shelves.

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