Raphaël Liégeois to become third Belgian in space

Belgian astronaut Raphaël Liégeois has been selected to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2026, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced on Wednesday. He will be the third Belgian in space after Dirk Frimout and Frank De Winne.

Liégeois, 36, will travel to the ISS with French colleague Sophie Adenot. They will conduct scientific experiments and medical research, engage in Earth observation and perform operational and maintenance tasks.

In an interview with Belga, Liégeois said he was scheduled to leave for the ISS around September 2026 for a six-month mission. He will train for the mission at NASA in Houston, Texas.

Frimout became the first Belgian to travel into space, in 1992, and De Winne the second, in 2002 and 2009. De Winne is now the director of the ESA Astronaut Centre in Cologne, where Liégeois and the four other newly graduated astronauts received most of their basic training. They received their diplomas on 22 April.

"If I can inspire or make people dream in the same way I dreamt about the launches and space adventures of Dirk Frimout and Frank De Winne, I will be very happy," Liégeois said. He added that he wants to make the space mission "a collective adventure, not just a personal one".



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