February 21, 2019

Frédérique Vidal and Thomas Pesquet launch student competition with CNES for the astronaut’s next ISS flight

Thursday 21 February, the French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Frédérique Vidal, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall were at Paul Sabatier University (UPS) in Toulouse to mark the launch of Generation ISS, a CNES competition for which students will conceive projects and experiments for the astronaut’s next mission on board the International Space Station (ISS).

This competition gives students the chance to get involved in art, media, technology and science projects. Each candidate and their team will have free rein to suggest a project that would draw on the ISS’s human and/or technical resources.

The top three entries will get the chance to put their projects into action with the help of CNES and have them tested on the station by Thomas Pesquet.

The competition will serve to boost students’ interest in the space sector while accustoming them to work in a collaborative environment and gain first-hand experience of the rules and requirements of human spaceflight missions. It will also enable them to actively promote the excellence and innovative spirit of French education. The winning projects will be announced at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget on Thursday 20 June by the CNES President.

Addressing an audience of students at UPS, Frédérique Vidal said: “This initiative is unprecedented in its conception and ambition, as it seeks to get the ISS and its crew working for students, who will be able to propose their best projects across a broad field of disciplines spanning art, media, technology, education and of course science. You will basically be engaging in a new kind of tutorial exercise, which I’m sure will give you the chance to express your creativity and show the world what you are capable of accomplishing. Your thirst for making new discoveries and harnessing that creativity are a vital resource for the nation and I hope you will all be getting involved in this competition.”

Thomas Pesquet detailed the objectives of upcoming missions and the challenges of crewed space exploration, before joining a Q&A session alongside Frank de Winne, the Head of ESA’s European Astronaut Centre, and Jean-Yves Le Gall. Earlier in the afternoon, Frédérique Vidal and Thomas Pesquet also paid a visit to the CADMOS centre for the development of microgravity applications and space operations at the Toulouse Space Centre (CST).

CNES had previously worked closely with Thomas Pesquet on the Proxima mission, his first stint on the ISS, from November 2016 to June 2017, helping to execute and monitor seven science experiments specially conceived by CADMOS and aimed at facilitating the lives, scientific research and healthcare of astronauts on board the station.

Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation – Press Office
Tel. +33 (0)1 55 55 99 12 / +33 (0)1 55 55 86 90

CNES contacts
Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39    pascale.bresson@cnes.fr
Raphaël Sart    Press Officer    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51    raphael.sart@cnes.fr
Sébastien Martignac    Press Officer    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 78 35    sebastien.martignac@cnes.fr