Astronaut Jean-Jacques Favier, the sixth Frenchman to have gone into space during a flight aboard the American shuttle Columbia, has died at the age of 73, the National Center for Studies announced on Friday. space (CNES). A physicist and engineer by training, Jean-Jacques Favier was selected in 1985 as an “experimental astronaut” by the French space agency, when he was a research engineer at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
Within CNES, he became scientific manager of the Mephisto space oven, which flew several times aboard the space shuttle Columbia. In 1995, he was designated as a specialist astronaut for an experiment in the Spacelab laboratory carried away by the American ship. He spent 16 days, 21 hours and 48 minutes in orbit, from June 20 to July 7, 1996. Fourteen years after Jean-Loup Chrétien, the first Frenchman to have flown into space, aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Jean-Jacques Favier thus becomes “the first French scientist to have stayed in space”, specifies the CNES, paying tribute to his “exemplary career”. “He will leave his mark on future generations and inspire many of us,” adds CNES CEO Philippe Baptiste in the press release. During his mission, Jean-Jacques Favier was responsible for more than 30 physics experiments in micro-gravity.
After his career as an astronaut, he got involved in education and research, working in particular on a CNES project to prepare a future lunar and/or Martian base.