A first mission to the ISS possible between 2026 and 2030 for Belgian astronaut Raphaël Liégeois

His training will start in April, under the coordination of another Belgian, emeritus astronaut Frank De Winne, who heads the training center for European astronauts in Cologne.

“The first mission could be 2026 at the earliest, but there are five of us (in the roster of career astronauts, editor’s note), so it could be 2030,” said the 34-year-old scientist. , appointed by ESA to join the French Sophie Adenot, the Spaniard Pablo Alvarez Fernandez, the Briton Rosemary Cougan and the Swiss Marco Sieber.

“I am very happy and very proud to have been asked to become an astronaut. I am also very lucky to be surrounded by all these candidates. The selection was truly an exceptional adventure; to see this enthusiasm from thousands of European candidates was absolutely amazing,” he added. No fewer than 22,000 aspirants had applied for career astronaut positions at ESA.

Belgium lands third astronaut in its history: Raphaël Liégeois becomes the very first Walloon in space (sudinfo.be)

When he received a copy of the Tintin album “We Walked on the Moon” from Secretary of State for Scientific Research Thomas Dermine, Raphaël Liégeois said with a smile, ready to take over.

The doctor of neuroscience from the University of Liège emphasized that he had started a scientific career “to shape the world of tomorrow that would be better, which is also why I applied for the position of ‘astronaut’.

“The message I want to give to all generations, especially young people, is that science is truly beautiful, that there is a lot of room for creativity, and that science will be central to meeting the challenges we collectively face as humanity. stand for”.

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