Astronaut Spotlight: Claudie Haigneré1 min read

Claudie Haigneré is the first French woman to have gone into space. Doctor, scientist, astronaut and politician…. Like most astronauts, she wears many hats and has been involved in many industries. Claudie had a very prolific career and has been promoting equality in the space industry, hoping to see more women in space.

Claudie Haigneré •ESA

Early Life

Claudie originally studied medicine at the universities of Dijon and then Paris. She specialised in sports medicine, aeronautics and rheumatology, and earned a doctorate in neurosciences in 1992.

Space Debut

In the 90s, Claudie became head of space medicine at the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES). In 1996, She was one of the astronauts selected to participate in the Franco-Russian Cassiopeia mission: a 16 days mission where Claudie became the first French woman to go into space. In the International Space Station, she conducted numerous medical, physiological, technical and biological experiments.

For her many contributions to science, she was awarded on numerous occasions, notably receiving the title of Knight of the “Order of Merit” and Grand Knight of the “Legion of Honour.”

Political Career

In 2002, Claudie Haigneré left her space activities to devote herself to a political career: she became Minister Delegate for Research and Technology from 2002 to 2004. The following year, she became Minister Delegate for European Affairs.

In March 2009, Claudie Haigneré was chosen to preside at the head of “Universcience”, a new complex born from the merger of two of Paris’s leading scientific and technical cultural venues. Six years later, the French astronaut decides work for the European Space Agency again, which she had first joined in 1999.

‘It isn’t enough to promote equality intellectually: successful women need to be visible role models.’

Dr Claudie Haigneré – 2015

Latest posts by Tom Urbain (see all)

Tom Urbain has been a space enthusiast since a very young age. Based in cloudy Manchester, Tom takes every opportunity to take his telescope out and observe the planets when he is not reading books about the universe and space exploration.

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