Visit of Jean-Francois Clervoy, French Astronaut

JPEGIt is with pleasure that we met Jean-François Clervoy during his trip to Atlanta from April, 27th to April, 29th, a French astronaut with international fame.

Jean-François Clervoy, who has received the Space Flight Medal three times and has twice received the Exceptional Service Medal from NASA, is the French astronaut who has traveled to space the most number of times, tied with his partner, Jean-Loup Chrétien. He had the opportunity to go to space three times, for a total of 675 hours in-flight:
- For his first flight in space, Jean-François Clervoy participated in the mission on the shuttle Atlantis in November 1994 whose aim was to study the composition of Earth’s atmosphere and the effects of solar energy.
- In May 1997, he left for his second space mission, which involved the docking of the Space Shuttle with the Mir station.
- In December 1999, Jean-François Clervoy was selected for his third space flight, whose main objective was to replace the failing scoring system in the Hubble Space Telescope.

In a first conference at Georgia Tech, he told us all the secrets about the International Space Station (ISS)that is currently in orbit and inhabited by a team of five astronauts (American, Russian, European, Canadian and Japanese) which is relayed every six months. He explained that one of the main challenges for this project was the spoken language onboard the station: no official language has been upheld in space, so English and Russian must be spoken by all astronauts.
In addition, the station being composed of different parts, all built in different countries (USA, Europe, Canada, Russia), units of measure are not the same depending on the country: the United States uses the U.S. customary system of measurements while Europe, Canada and Japan use the metric system. So, multiple units are used on board the International Space Station, although the temperature is in Celsius.
When he presented the station he exclaimed," There is a before cupola and an after cupola, you feel like in a bubble." This glass dome allows astronauts to view the outside world: the Earth! It is by this cupola that you can admire the 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets per day as the ISS has an Earth orbit lasting one hour and a half.

In the second conference which was held at the Alliance française, he unveiled the secrets of the station cockpit with 1,000 switches and the elements that make a team work: communication, competence and a common goal for all members!

Before leaving, Jean-François gave us some tips:
- Thus, to observe the stars while on board, there must be absolute darkness in the station, remember it!
- The astronauts have recorded videos in space which are available in IMAX 3D cinemas. Jean-François Clervoy assured us that the feelings for the spectators were nearly those felt by astronauts in space.
- You want to observe ISS in the sky? Visit the ISS sighting opportunities website to find out when the International Space Station will pass over your town!

Last modified on 05/05/2011

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