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An unexpected spectacle

Jean Loup Chretien Jean Loup Chretien

Jean-Loup Chrétien went to space on June 24, 1982. He then becomes the first occidental to flight in space (nor Sovietic, nor American) but also the first French cosmonaut. He stayed some days in space aboard the Salyut space station to proceed to experiences for the CNES agency.

In 1988, he had the chance to go again, also with the Soviets, but aboard the brand new MIR station for a joint mission, Aragatz, between France and USSR. The launch date was settled at November 26, 1988, but 11 days earlier another historical event took place.

Jean-Loup Chrétien and his Soyuz TM-7 partners,  Alexander Volkov and Sergei Krikalev, arrived at Baikonur weeks before the launch to finish their training on the cosmodrome. Early in the morning of November 15, they are waken up by the staff of the hotel, which said them that a launch is going to take place. So the small group, the crew, the backup crew and some members of the hotel went upstairs on the building’s roof and watch in the direction of the lunar launch pad enlightening the night. At that time the USSR was in a bad financial state and the Energia-Buran program was suffering financial cuttings, some people said that if the launch doesn’t take place this morning the shuttle will never be launch.

Then suddenly a big light appeared at the horizon. Spectacular and blinding, this light began to go up to the clouds base which it reached in few seconds, going from this incandescent dot to a magnificent light disc which slowly blow out as Buran was mounting in the clouds. Buran lifted off under an awful weather, during an inky night, and must came back to Baikonur just few hours later and succeed her first automatic landing. It’s was also her first flight, without crew onboard. We stayed  disbelieving, and watching during hours the evolution of the weather. It was clear that our russians colleagues had took lots of risks. We learned later that the chances of success were less than 50%. [...]

The local TV  broadcasted the rest of the events. Buran began her reentry in the atmosphere at the right time, and we were watching with anxiety the picture shoot by the television camera orientated to the base of the clouds in the landing strip axis. The ceiling was low, it continued to snow, and a strong crosswind was blowing. Suddenly Buran escaped from the clouds, some 20 to 30 seconds before landing. We were holding our breast and watching this majestic vehicle beginning its circle before touching down. The landing was magnificent, and Buran stopped majestically in a tremendous applause. Ignoring the risks by getting close too quickly, a group of engineers and technicians ran toward this hero to acclaim it with enthusiasm. Vodka was flowing, even knowing that despite her success it should be her last flight.

Extract from the book: Rêves d’étoiles (Dreams of stars), Jean-Loup Chrétien.

Visit of François Mitterrand, for the launch of JL. Chrétien, in the hangar 112.

President Mitterrand Baikonur

Presidential Concorde on the Ybileiniy airport (Buran’s landing strip).

Concorde Baikonur

100 years of Lozino-Lozinsky

Gleb Evgeniyevich Lozino-Lozinsky (December 25, 1909-November 28, 2001) was chief designer of the Spiral and Buran space systems, on last december 25, he should have had 100 years.

After his studies he became a plane engine specialist at the Mikoyan design bureau. During the 60′s he works as chief project on Spiral program, then enter at NPO Molnya as the main constructor of the Buran space shuttle, in the 90′s he will start the MAKC project (small space shuttle).

He was persuated that space travels should be done in winged spacecraft.

Lozino-Lozinsky Lozino-Lozinsky Buran

Here is a reporting that was broadcasted on TVRoscosmos:

YouTube Preview Image

The space webzine


The first version of the FCS Mag has arrived. This review was made by some members of the Space Exploration Forum (in French) for the joy of everybody and not only specialists. The advantage of this formula is that the articles are written by passionnated people of this field (professionals or amateurs) which make them very interesting.
We can find articles about space news, missions in the ISS for example, as well as historical and scientific articles.

I wish long life for the webzine.

To download it it’s here or on the picture.

A trip to Kaluga

Museum of Cosmonautics of Kaluga

I had the occasion to visit, this summer, the Cosmonautic museum of Kaluga. This is the first museum about space exploration, it was built in 1967 under the decision of S.P. Korolev, even if it is a little bit old it is still an astonishing place because of its assortments and rockets.

The visit begins here.

Landing of the An-225 at the Samoa’s islands

On last September 29 was a tsunami, caused by an earthquake 200km South West of the archipelago, which devastated the american Samoa’s island and killed about 200 people. The islands were severly damaged and many installations were destroyed or badly injured, like two electrical power plants.

Tsunami Tsunami

The american president Barack Obama declared the Samoa islands in emergency state: he allocated a federal subvention to help the assistance. The FEMA arraigned to fly in some replacement generators, that arrived on the 13th October. The Mriya touched down in the early hours and left late afternoon after discharging ten large generators, fuel tanks and other equipments.

Mriya An-225 Mriya An-225 Mriya An-225

Mriya An-225

Thanks to Derek W. for the pictures.

My trip to the Kennedy Space Center

STS-126 Patch

In last November I travelled to the Kennedy Space Center (Florida, USA), I had the chance to meet famous Astronauts like Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lowell, Alan Bean and many others.

I also had the opportunity to attend the launch of Endeavour STS-126 to the ISS.

Here is the narration of my trip.

Opening of the Apollo and Beyond exhibition

The exhibtion Apollo and Beyond which will take place in the Speyer museum in Germany will open on October 2 for the VIPs and the next day (October 3) for everyone.

This exhibition will be the occasion to see the Buran space shuttle OK-GLI, which hasn’t participed to such event since 2001.


Conference about space with Patrick Baudry

This afternoon took place a conference on space at the Vincennes’s floral parc (Paris). This conference was about: The Space Conquest by Mankind – its strength and its limits. It was lead by Patrick Baudry (second French astronaut).
The conference was in 2 parts, in the first time a movie about STS-51-G was screened (commented by Mr Baudry), then the public could ask questions at Mr Baudry about this mission, about space in general and about futur space projects, like moon colonisation. At last an autograph session ended the meeting.
Here is 2 short videos (in French) and some pictures:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7854512319523927443 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5825097305262690928

Patrick Baudry Patrick Baudry

Patrick Baudry Patrick Baudry

Patrick Baudry Patrick Baudry