French astronaut from the European Space Agency, Thomas Pesquet, became one of the few people to cast his vote from the International Space Station. The second round of the French Presidential elections was held last Sunday, where central candidate Emmanuel Macron came out on top against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
The youngest ESA astronaut to be part of a crewed mission, Pesquet made arrangements for a French colleague of his to cast his vote for him, by implementing a power of attorney. He did not let the small matter of being some 400km away from Earth stop him from voting, stating that he was adamant to vote in order to set an example for other French citizens not to waste their opportunity to have a say in their country’s decision to appoint its next leader.
Without revealing his political affiliations, Pesquet shared his views on the recent political tension that has been sweeping the country “I think it’s important to open up and understand that the world is done with others, not against others, that we need more bridges than walls.”
Although he is a French national, Pesquet resides in Germany, making the matter of his voting even more complicated. He will be returning back to Earth shortly, after having completed a 6-month mission at the ISS since November 2016, along with astronauts Peggy Whitson and Oleg Novitsky, where he is serving as a flight engineer for Expedition 50 and 51. The young astronaut holds a Masters degree in space systems and space vehicle mechanics. He also graduated as an aircraft pilot from the Air France flight school.
The more unstable character of this year’s French elections could have been one of the reasons that pushed Pesquet to overcome all hurdles in order to cast his vote. The astronaut revealed that he is passionate about politics and had been following the elections from space. “We must not judge candidates on the color of their tie but really on what they propose and what they will do,” he commented.