Astronaut Jean-Jacques Favier, the sixth Frenchman to go into space during a flight aboard the American shuttle Columbia, died at the age of 73, announced on Friday March 24, 2023, the National Center for Space Studies (CNES).
Born on April 13, 1949 in Kehl, Germany, Jean-Jacques Favier joined the National School of Electrochemistry and Electrometallurgy in Grenoble in 1971. He obtained a doctorate in engineering from the Ecole des mines de Paris as well as a doctorate in physics and metallurgy from Joseph-Fourier-Grenoble 1 University in 1977.
He was selected in 1985 as an "experimenter astronaut" by the French space agency, while he was a research engineer at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
Within CNES, he became scientific manager of the Mephisto space oven, which was flown several times aboard the space shuttle Columbia. In 1995, he was designated as a specialist astronaut for an experiment at the Spacelab laboratory, carried away by the American vessel.
He spent sixteen days, twenty-one hours and forty-eight minutes in orbit, from June 20 to July 7, 1996. Fourteen years after Jean-Loup Chrétien, the first Frenchman to fly in space, aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Jean-Jacques Favier thus becomes "the first French scientist to have stayed in space", specifies the CNES, which pays tribute to his "exemplary career". "He will leave his mark on future generations and inspire many of us," CNES CEO Philippe Baptiste added in the statement.
During his mission, Jean-Jacques Favier was responsible for more than thirty physics experiments in microgravity.
After his career as an astronaut, he got involved in education and research, working in particular on a CNES project to prepare a future lunar or Martian base.