November 19, 2016

Proxima mission Thomas Pesquet reaches International Space Station

The Soyuz spacecraft launched Thursday 17 November from Baikonur with France’s ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet on board docked today with the International Space Station.

After completing 34 orbital revolutions of the Earth, the Soyuz spacecraft has docked with the International Space Station (ISS). France’s ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, mission commander Oleg Novitsky (Roscosmos) and U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson (NASA) have safely entered the station and are now ready to start their six-month mission.

Thomas Pesquet, 38, will be the 10th French astronaut to fly in space, the fourth to stay aboard the ISS and the first to spend six months there. His mission has been named Proxima after Proxima Centauri, the star nearest our Sun, continuing the tradition of naming European missions on the ISS after stars. Thomas will be in charge of more than 50 science experiments devised by ESA and CNES, and will be contributing to numerous research projects undertaken for other programme partners.

CNES is closely involved in this mission, notably through the CADMOS centre for the development of microgravity applications and space operations, located at the Toulouse Space Centre. CADMOS will be controlling 21 of the 55 experiments to be performed by Thomas Pesquet for ESA and devised and prepared seven of the experiments itself: AQUAPAD, MATISS, EVERYWEAR, PERSPECTIVES, ECHO, FLUIDICS and EXO-ISS (educational experiments).

After the successful docking and the crew’s entry aboard the ISS, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “What has been a truly golden week for us is continuing with this new and crucial stage of the Proxima mission! I would like to congratulate all of the international partners who played a part in this new success. Thomas is now on the station and ready to start work on his mission’s science, technology and educational experiments with CNES’s teams at CADMOS.”

You can replay the launch in French at and on CNES’s YouTube channel at

Photo and video resources

CNES is providing photo and video resources on France’s contribution to the Proxima mission:
Videos: Public viewing / Download for professionals

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Keep up with the latest news about the Proxima mission on social media with the hashtag #Proxima.

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CNES invites visitors to its website on a trip in microgravity on the International Space Station with a web document conceived in partnership with the MEDES space clinic. Learn how microgravity affects the human body, what kind of research is being pursued with astronauts and what kind of medical spin-offs we can expect.

Find out all about it at:

Pascale Bresson Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39
Julien Watelet      Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 78 37
cp210-2016_-_succes_docking_t._pesquet_proxima_va.pdf (pdf - 359.33 Ko)