Technology VIDEO. How Thomas Pesquet prepares for spacewalks … underwater

VIDEO. How Thomas Pesquet prepares for spacewalks … underwater



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On April 22, 2021, he is due to return to space. Thomas Pesquet’s mission makes people dream and “the dream within the dream” is the spacewalk, in a spacesuit in the vacuum of space, with the Earth scrolling under your feet … How do you prepare for it ? In this excerpt, the French astronaut comments for “Special Envoy” the images of an intensive training … in a swimming pool.

He is due to return to space on April 22, 2021 for another six-month stay on the International Space Station. For the past year, Thomas Pesquet has been preparing for this new mission, with all the risks it entails.

The French astronaut has agreed to comment for “Special Envoy” on images of his hundreds of hours of training. For example, how does he keep his cool during a spacewalk, like the one he shared the images for the magazine, in 2017? “VS’is a bit like a dream within a dream, the image of Epinal, with the diving-suit, etc., he admits. But we only do it when we have to, because clearly, the level of risk increases … ” The only way to prepare for it, explains Thomas Pesquet, “it is really to put in a swimming pool”.

Doing maintenance with pressurized gloves, “it’s a bit like playing the piano with boxing gloves”

During six-hour spacesuit sessions, astronauts repeat the program of spacewalks … underwater. Equipped with a “spatial screwdriver” and pressurized gloves (“It’s not easy, it’s a bit like trying to play the piano with boxing gloves on”, confides Thomas Pesquet), they train in all kinds of maintenance operations.

A full-scale model of the station has been installed in the swimming pool: they will install equipment, make repairs … “It’s really a very manual, very meticulous job, but that’s the price we will be ready to go outside the station, to expose ourselves to that risk.”

Extract from “My life as an astronaut”, a report to see in “Special Envoy” on March 25, 2021.

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