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ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet returns after an action-packed six months in orbit

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet returned to Earth today alongside NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, marking the end of his second six-month International Space Station (ISS) mission known as Alpha.

Thomas is the first European to fly to and return from space on a commercial spacecraft. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour transporting Crew-2 autonomously undocked from the International Space Station and after a series of burns, entered Earth’s atmosphere and deployed parachutes for a soft water-landing. Thomas and crew splashed down off the coast of Florida, USA on 09 November 2021 at 03:33 GMT (04:33 CET).


Thomas will fly to Cologne, Germany, where he will be monitored by ESA’s space medicine team as he readapts to Earth’s gravity at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre (EAC) and German Aerospace Centre (DLR) ‘Envihab’ facility.

It is currently foreseen that Thomas will arrive in Cologne at 20:30 GMT (21:30 CET).


A small amount of media may attend the return of Thomas at the airport and there may be a short Q&A with Thomas when he disembarks from the aeroplane. The arrival of Thomas and the Q&A on the tarmac will be recorded by ESA and made available published on ESA channels as soon as possible. A news conference will follow a few days after Thomas’s return.

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