Aiming for the stars lands French astronaut Sophie Adenot a ticket to ISS

France's Sophie Adenot – chosen to blast off to the International Space Station (ISS) for a six-month mission – dreamed of spaceflight since she was a child, but was warned off being too ambitious.

"I grew up hearing from the people around me: 'don't dream that big; it will never happen'," Adenot told RFI in April, after being certified as the second French woman astronaut in history.

"Sometimes I would listen but mainly I wouldn't."

This week the 41-year-old was selected, alongside Belgium's Raphael Liegeois as the first of a new class of European astronauts to go to the ISS.

She'll join the onboard crew in orbit some 400 kilometres above Earth – becoming the second French woman aboard the ISS after Claudie Haigneré in 2001.

After her six-month stay, Adenot will be replaced by Liegeois.

Aim high

An engineer, helicopter test pilot and air force colonel, Adenot advises young people to aim for the sky.

"Don't be afraid of failing. I tried twice for selection," she said, referring to her acceptance into the European Space Agency's (ESA) astronaut programme in 2022.

"In 2009 it didn't work. I was too young, probably, but I learned a lot along the way."

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
European satellite set for fiery tumble into Earth's atmosphere
Europe's trusty Ariane 5 rocket leaves lasting legacy after final flight
By Jove: France's instrumental part in study of Jupiter's icy moons