Jean-François Clervoy

Personal data

Born on 19 November 1958 in Longeville-les-Metz, France Jean-François Clervoy considers Toulouse, France, to be his hometown. He is married to Laurence Boulanger and they have two children. Jean-François enjoys racquet sports, canyoning, skiing and enjoys hobbies such as flying boomerangs, Frisbees and kites.


  • 1976: baccalaureate from the Collège Militaire de Saint Cyr l’Ecole
  • 1978: he gained two mathematics degrees at the Prytanée Militaire, La Flèche, France
  • 1981: graduated from Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France
  • 1983: graduated from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace, Toulouse, France
  • 1987: graduated as Flight Test Engineer from Ecole du Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception, Istres, France
  • Jean-François is an Ingénieur Général de l’Armement in the French DGA defence procurement agency


  • Member of the Association of Space Explorers
  • Distinguished member of the French Aeronautics and Astronautics Association
  • Permanent member of the Air and Space Academy
  • Corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics
  • Ambassador of sustainable development park EANA in Normandy, France
  • Patron of the marine life preservation non-profit association ‘Te mana o te moana’ in French Polynesia
  • ESA representative for the SeaOrbiter ocean exploration project

Special honours

  • Three NASA Space Flight Medals
  • Two NASA Exceptional Service Medals.
  • Officier de l’ordre national de la Légion d’honneur
  • Chevalier de l’ordre national du Mérite
  • Komarov and Koroliev Awards from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale


In 1983 Jean-François was seconded from the Délégation Générale pour L’Armement (DGA) to French space agency CNES where he worked on autopilot systems for various projects such as the SPOT Earth observation satellite, the STAR optical intersatellite space link and the Vega comet probe.

He was selected for the second group of French astronauts in 1985 and started intensive Russian language training. From 1987 to 1992 he directed the parabolic flight programme at the Flight Test Center in Brétigny-sur-Orge, France, and provided technical support to the European human space program at ESA’s Hermes crew office in Toulouse.

From 1983 to 1987, Jean-François also lectured on signal processing and general mechanics at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace, Toulouse.

In 1991, Jean-François trained in Star City, Russia, on Soyuz and Mir. In 1992, he joined the ESA astronaut corps at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. In August 1992 Jean-François was detached to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, qualifying as a Space Shuttle mission specialist.

Between spaceflights, Jean-François was assigned as flight software verification lead in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory and as robotics display design lead for the Space Shuttle. After his third spaceflight, he was assigned as the International Space Station display integration lead in NASA’s Astronaut Office.

Jean-François flew twice on the Space Shuttle Atlantis and once on Discovery, spending a total of 675 hours in space.

From 2001 through 2008 he was assigned as Senior Advisor Astronaut for ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle in Les Mureaux, France. In 2008, he was appointed member of the selection board for the new ESA astronaut class.

Jean-François has military and civilian parachuting licences, military and civilian scuba-diving licences, and a private pilot’s licence.


Jean-François wrote the book Histoire(s) d’Espaceabout his mission to the Hubble space telescope.

Jean-François wrote the bookHistoire(s) d’Espaceabout his mission to the Hubble space telescope. He has coauthored Voler en apesanteur,Embarquer dès demain pour l’espace,Dans les bars des bouts du monde, La Diva, la Président et autres face-à-face and La voix.


Jean-François filed an international patent for the time functions of the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 wristwatch produced by Omega, and tested and certified by ESA.

Spaceflight experience

STS-66 3–14 November 1994: the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 (ATLAS-3) mission was part of a programme to determine Earth’s energy balance and atmospheric change over an 11-year solar cycle. Jean-François used the Space Shuttle’s robotic arm to deploy the atmospheric research satellite Crista-SPAS. He logged 262 hours and 34 minutes in space over 175 Earth orbits.

STS-84 15–24 May 1997: NASA’s sixth Space Shuttle mission to dock with Russia’s Mir space station. As payload commander, Jean-François’ primary tasks were to run more than 20 experiments, operate the docking system and the Spacehab module as well as transfer 4 tonnes of equipment between Space Shuttle Atlantis and Mir. He trained as backup spacewalker on this mission. Jean-François logged 221 hours and 20 minutes in space over 144 Earth orbits.

STS-103 19–27 December 1999: the primary objectives was to repair the Hubble space telescope after its gyroscopes had failed. Jean-François was flight engineer. He used the robotic arm to capture and redeploy the telescope, and to manoeuvre his crew mates during their three spacewalks. Jean-François logged 191 hours and 11 minutes in space over 120 Earth orbits.

Current assignment

Jean-François is a member of the ESA Astronaut Corps, based at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. As part of his duties, Jean-François provides support to the human spaceflight programme, the communications department and the sustainable development office. He is also Chairman of Novespace, a subsidiary of France’s CNES space agency in charge of the parabolic flight programme that uses an A300 aircraft based in Bordeaux-Mérignac, France.

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