ESA Astronaut Biography: Leopold Eyharts

ESA Astronaut Biography: Leopold Eyharts
French astronaut Leopold Eyharts, representing the European Space Agency, poses for a preflight portrait. (Image credit: NASA and ESA.)

NAME:LéopoldEyharts (General,French Air Force)
European SpaceAgency (ESA) Astronaut (MissionSpecialist)

PERSONALDATA: BornApril 28, 1957, in Biarritz, France. He is married and has one child. Hishobbies are reading, computers and sport.

EDUCATION: Graduated as an engineer from theFrench Air Force Academy of Salon-de-Provence in 1979.

SPECIALHONORS:Léopold Eyharts has been decorated with the French Légion d’Honneur, the OrdreNational du Mérite and Médaille d’Outre Mer, and the Russian medals ofFriendship and Courage.

EXPERIENCE: He joined the French Air ForceAcademy of Salon-de-Provence in 1977 and was graduated as an aeronauticalengineer in 1979. In 1980, he became a fighter pilot and was assigned to anoperational Jaguar squadron in Istres Air Force Base (France). In 1985, he wasassigned as a wing commander in Saint-Dizier Air Force base.

In 1988, hewas graduated as a test pilot in the French test pilot school (EPNER) and wasassigned to Bretigny flight test center near Paris. He then flew on differenttypes of military and civilian aircraft including Mirage 2000, Alpha-jet,Mirage 3, Caravelle, C-160 mainly involved in radar and equipment testing.

He haslogged 3500 flight hours as a fighter and test pilot in 40 different aircrafttypes, 21 parachute jumps including one ejection.

In 1990,Léopold Eyharts was selected as an astronaut by CNES (Center National d’EtudesSpatiales) and assigned to support the Hermes spaceplane program managed by theHermes Crew office in Toulouse.

He becamealso one of the test pilots in charge of the CNES parabolic flights program, anexperimental aircraft (Caravelle) managed by Bretigny Flight Test Center toprovide a microgravity laboratory to the scientific community. In 1994, he wasin charge of parabolic flight testing of the Caravelle replacement, an AirbusA300 which became operational in 1995.

In 1992,Léopold Eyharts participated in the second European Space Agency astronautselection. At the end of the same year, he took part in an ESA evaluation ofRussian “Bouran” Space Shuttle training in Moscow, where he flew in the Tupolev154 Bouran in-flight simulator.

He alsoparticipated in two additional short-duration spaceflight training courses inStar City, Moscow: 6-weeks in 1991 and 2-weeks in 1993.

LéopoldEyharts was assigned to full spaceflight training in January 1995. He trainedas a back-up cosmonaut for the Cassiopeia French-Russian space mission, whichtook place in August 1996.

He was theprime cosmonaut for the follow-on CNES scientific space mission called"Pégase." He flew in the MirSpace Station in February 1998. During the three week Pégase mission heperformed various French experiments in the area of medical research,neuroscience, biology, fluid physics and technology. In completing his firstspace mission, he has logged 20 days, 18 hours and 20 minutes in space.

NASAEXPERIENCE: InAugust 1998, Léopold Eyharts was assigned by the European Space Agency to trainat NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. As part of the internationalastronauts of the 1998 class, he attended Astronaut Candidate Training whichincluded orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technicalbriefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Stationsystems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flighttraining, as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques.Initially assigned to the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch.Léopold Eyharts' assignments include serving as a flight engineer to theExpedition-12 and Expedition-13 back-up crews.

Eyharts isassigned as FlightEngineer for the Expedition-16 crew of the International Space Station andwill launch aboard the shuttle Atlantis'sSTS-122 mission in December 2006.

Last Updated:January 2007

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