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French Minister for Research and New Technologies (as of 18 June 2002). Haigneré previously worked as an astronaut in the European Astronaut Corps. Formerly Claudie André-Deshays, she married fellow European astronaut Jean-Pierre Haigneré. She was the only female member of the Corpsat the time, and took part in two missions, Cassiopée in 1996 and Andromède in 2001. The Andromède mission also made her the first European woman to enter the International Space Station.

13 May 1957 in Le Creusot, France.

Certificats d’Etudes Spécialisées in biology and sports medicine, 1981
Certificats d’Etudes Spécialisées in aviation and space medicine, 1982
Certificats d’Etudes Spécialisées in rheumatology, 1984
Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies in biomechanics and physiology of movement, 1986
Ph.D thesis in neuroscience, 1992

Mission Experience
Whilst working for CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, the French space agency), Haigneré was assigned her fist space mission, Cassiopée. The mission was a 16 day flight organised between the French and the Russians, during which Haigneré was the assigned Research Cosmonaut. Training was carried out in Star City, Moscow, and the vehicle used was a Russian Soyuz rocket. The experiments carried out mainly concerned physiology (her speciality), and were considered successful.

Haigneré moved from CNES to the EAC in November 1999, and continued her work in the development of medical microgravity experiments, as well as undergoing training to work on the ISS (which she completed in March 2001). In October 2001, she took part in her second mission, Andromède, which took her to the ISS. Her 8 days on board saw Haigneré carrying out several medical experiments, as well as some more environmental experiments. The mission also exchanged the Soyuz module attached to the ISS, which is a fairly routine operation (it needs to be carried out approximately every 6 months). Interestingly, since the mission was a collaboration between France and Russia, and Haigneré was officially there representing Europe as a whole, there were some conflicts of interest when it came to dividing her workload. In the end, she was involved in experiments for CNES, ESA and DLR (Deutschen Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, or the German Space agency).

Claudie Haigneré has had a pretty amazing career. A member of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, and recipient of the Russian Medal for Personal Valour, she has also found time to become happily married, raise a daughter, and take part in two space missions. Starting as a research doctor, she has been involved in some of the most important European research in the effects of microgravity upon the human body, especially its muscles and bones, since the beginning. The research she carried out was much admired, and CNES were very keen to employ her. With the formation of the European Astronaut Corps, Haigneré was an obvious choice to move to the new organisation. In fact, I’ve heard people within ESA joke that they were lucky she accepted the position – it seems she could certainly be making more money doing more traditional (and probably safer) research.

But, the woman has a love of space, and I guess that’s something you either have or you don’t (I don’t, and there’s no way in hell you’d get me strapped into a Soyuz...). In fact, Haigneré understands that she’s very lucky to be achieving her dreams, and is very active within Europe to encourage children and students with an interest in space to get involved. This has included taking part in Internet chats, answering students emails while floating around the ISS, and perhaps most importantly, just showing all the young women in Europe that there is no reason why they can’t be involved too.

In this respect, I consider her to be one of the more sane, useful, and humble astronauts…

Sources: http://www.esa.int/export/esaHS/M8AVCKSC_astronauts_0.html , and anecdotal evidence.

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