Philippe Perrin : biography
Philippe Perrin (Colonel, French Air Force) is a French test pilot and former CNES and European Space Agency astronaut.
CNES and ESA career
In July 1996, CNES announced his selection as an astronaut candidate and assigned him to attend NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Training in Houston, Texas.
Perrin reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, he qualified for flight assignments as a mission specialist. Perrin was initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Spacecraft Systems/Operations Branch. During his assignment with NASA, he transferred in 1999 from CNES to the European Space Agency.
He served as a mission specialist on the STS-111 mission in 2002 and logged over 332 hours in space, including 19 hours and 31 minutes in three spacewalks, performed with Franklin Chang-Diaz.
After his flight, Perrin returned to France to work as support astronaut on the Automated Transfer Vehicle program.
He did not fly in space with ESA and left the European Astronaut Corps in 2004. He is currently working as test pilot for Airbus.
STS-111 Endeavour (5-19 June 2002). The STS-111 mission delivered a new ISS resident crew and a Canadian-built mobile base for the orbiting outpost’s robotic arm. The crew also performed late-notice repair of the station’s robot arm by replacing one of the arm’s joints. It was the second Space Shuttle mission dedicated to delivering research equipment to the space platform. Perrin performed three EVAs (spacewalks) with Franklin Chang-Diaz. STS-111 also brought home the Expedition 4 crew from their 6-1/2 month stay aboard the station. Mission duration was 13 days, 20 hours and 35 minutes. Unacceptable weather conditions in Florida necessitated a landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
Military and flight career
Prior to graduating from the École polytechnique, Perrin completed military duty in the French Navy, where he was trained in ship piloting and navigation, and spent six months at sea in the Indian Ocean. Following École polytechnique, he entered the French Air Force in 1985, was awarded his pilot’s wings in 1986, and was assigned to the 33rd Reconnaissance Wing at Strasbourg Air Force Base (1987-1991). He flew the Mirage F1CR and made detachments in Africa and Saudi Arabia.
Perrin has flown 26 combat missions and has logged over 2,500 flying hours in over 30 types (from jet fighters to Airbus).
Upon graduating from EPNER, the French Test Pilot School, he worked on a variety of test programs while assigned to the Bretigny Test Center. In 1992, he was temporarily detached to the French Space Agency (CNES) and sent to Star City, Russia, where he trained for two months. In 1993, he reported to the 2nd Air Defense Wing of Dijon Air Force Base as Senior Operations Officer (Operation Southern Watch). In 1995, he returned to the Bretigny Test Center, as Chief Pilot Deputy, in charge of the development of the Mirage 2000-5.
Awards and honors
- Awarded his pilot’s wings "first of his class" in 1996
- French Air Force Award for Flight Safety (2) in 1989
- French Overseas Medal (Gulf War, 1991)
- French National Defense Medal (2)
- Officer, Légion d'Honneur
Perrin is the only French astronaut to have received the Légion d'Honneur before flying in space as he became chevalier due to his actions while he was a military pilot. He was then elevated to the rank of officer after his space mission.
Perrin was born 6 January 1963, in Meknes, Morocco, but considers Avignon, Provence, to be his hometown. He entered the French École polytechnique (Paris) in 1982 and graduated as "Ingénieur Polytechnicien" (engineering degree) in 1985. Perrin then received his Test Pilot Licence in 1993 from the École du personnel navigant d'essais et de réception (EPNER), the French Test Pilot School at Istres Air Force Base and received his Air Line Pilot Certificate in 1995.
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