French astronaut Thomas Pesquet has described the first 100 days of his latest space mission as “magical” but also “routine.”
While many earthlings back on terra firma might think that living and working aboard the International Space Station (ISS) offers endless thrills, Pesquet reminds us that some of the time spent aboard the orbiting outpost is far from exciting.
“I am finding it magical every day, but there is also a lot of routine,” the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut said on Sunday as he reflected on his first 100 days aboard the ISS during his second space mission.
Today marks 💯 days of the #Crew2 mission! So much has happened: spacewalks, science, spacecraft coming and going – or relocating – maintenance… we have been so busy, but of course we wouldn't have it any other way! Recap: https://t.co/mGhG6ogwiB #MissionAlpha pic.twitter.com/B3YRB05dbB
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) August 1, 2021
As ESA points out, for Pesquet the magical moments will have included his first-ever ride aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft in April when he and his three crewmates blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in what was only SpaceX’s third crewed mission.
Also pretty special will have been his three spacewalks with fellow astronaut Shane Kimbrough during which they upgraded the station’s power systems.
Just over halfway into his six-month mission, Pesquet has also seen seven different spacecraft come and go — including the departure of the Pirs module after 20 years at the ISS — and the arrival of the Nauka module that brought with it not only a spot of initial bother, but also the ISS’s third and most advanced robotic arm. He’ll also be looking forward to meeting Boeing’s new Starliner capsule for the first time, which is set to dock with the space station on Wednesday, August 4.
And no doubt Pesquet feels something magical every time he peers at Earth 250 miles below — his brilliant photos certainly suggest that it’s a big part of his love for the job.
As for the routine, that’s all about the science, according to ESA. “Repetition is part of any research, and space is no exception,” the space agency says, adding that during the current mission Pesquet has already supported numerous European and international experiments in microgravity. Presumably daily chores such as eating, washing, cleaning, using the bathroom, and sleeping are all pretty routine activities aboard the ISS, too.
Pesquet is on board the space station with six other astronauts and is set to return to Earth in November 2021. This is his second mission to date, with his first one taking place in 2016/2017.
For more insight into daily life aboard the International Space Station, dive into these videos made by astronauts who’ve spent time aboard the satellite over the years.