Belgian Raphaël Liégeois will go to space soon


Freshly graduated from ESA, the Belgian Raphaël Liégeois has just been chosen to participate in an upcoming space mission. He thus officially becomes the third Belgian astronaut in aerospace history!


After having received his astronaut degree on 22 April after an intensive training at the European Astronaut Centre of ESA, the Belgian Raphaël Liégeois is set to go to space by 2026. He has just been appointed for a long upcoming mission at the International Space Station (ISS), orbiting the Earth, 400 km above our heads.

Hailing from Namur, Raphaël Liégeois is an engineer and researcher in neuroscience, having studied at the University of Liège and having taught at the universities of Lausanne and Geneva before being recruited by ESA in November 2022.

Currently 36 years old, Raphaël Liégeois will be the second astronaut of the class of 2022 to take flight to the ISS (Frenchwoman Sophie Adenot will go up a few months prior). Only two other Belgians have enjoyed the privilege of going to space before him: Dirk Frimout in 1992 and Frank De Winne in 2002 and 2009.

His first mission, which will take six months, is slated to start in September 2026, which gives him two more years to prepare. During this period, the Belgian astronaut will receive a missing specific training at a NASA centre in Houston, USA.

His appointment at such an early stage also gives him hope of taking part in other missions in the future. As a European, he could even join future lunar missions, which will take place for students in the class of 2022, potentially from 2030, as part of the American Artemis programme, in which Europe is also a partner.

As space is a major topic in Belgium, Raphaël Liégeois is inevitably a source of pride for the entire country.