Astronaut Jean-Jacques Favier, the sixth Frenchman to have gone into space during a flight aboard the American shuttle Columbia, has died at the age of 73, the National Center for Space Studies announced on Friday. (CNES).
A physicist and engineer by training, Jean-Jacques Favier was selected in 1985 as a “experimental astronaut” by the French space agency, when he was a research engineer at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) (CEA).
He was promoted to scientific manager at CNES for the Mephisto space oven, which was flown on Columbia numerous times. He was chosen in 1995 to serve as a specialist astronaut for an experiment that the American ship was carrying away from the Spacelab laboratory.
He spent 16 days, 21 hours and 48 minutes in orbit, from June 20 to July 7, 1996. That is 14 years after Jean-Loup Chrétien, the first Frenchman to have flown into space, aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Hence, according to the CNES, Jean-Jacques Favier “becomes the first French scientist to have stayed in space,” praising his “exemplary career.”
Philippe Baptiste, CEO of CNES, adds in the press release, “He will leave his mark on future generations and inspire many of us.
During his mission, Jean-Jacques Favier was responsible for more than 30 physics experiments in micro-gravity.
During his tenure as an astronaut, he got active in education and research, working in particular on a CNES project to prepare a future lunar and/or Martian outpost.