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The European Space Agency (ESA) unveiled its new promotion of career astronauts on Wednesday, selecting Frenchwoman Sophie Adenot and four other candidates from a list of more than 22,500 candidates. Helicopter pilot in the French army, Adenot becomes the second female French astronaut after Claudie Haigneré. She spoke to FRANCE 24 about reaching this historic milestone, what inspired her to become an astronaut and why she thinks space exploration is important.
Although he has made history, Adenot, 40, is determined to continue his work. “I am here to be a scientist and to operate very innovative technologies on board the Space Station alongside our partners from the European Space Agency. So the idea is to become an ambassador, yes of course, but not a star,” she said. James Andre from FRANCE 24.
“It all started as a little girl’s dream, sitting on her grandfather’s lap, looking up at the sky and the stars. But I didn’t wake up one day thinking, ‘I’ll be an astronaut. [It happened] very gradually. I read a lot of biographies. The first was Marie Curie and I decided I wanted to get into science and try to impact society through science, even if it was very far away. The other trigger for me was the biography of Claudie Haigneré (the first Frenchwoman in space). I was 14 when it took off and it really clicked for me, I decided I wanted to go down this path,” Adenot explained.