Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
In April 1979, the Soviet Union offered France the opportunity to fly a cosmonaut on board a joint Soviet-French space flight, along the same lines as the agreement to fly non-Soviet cosmonauts from member countries of the Intercosmos program. The offer was accepted, and France began a cosmonaut selection program in September 1979. Chrétien was one of two finalists named on June 12, 1980. He started training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in September 1980. The following year he was named as the research-cosmonaut for the prime crew of the Soyuz T-6 mission.
Soyuz T-6 was launched on June 24, 1982, and Chrétien, Dzhanibekov and Ivanchenkov linked up with Salyut 7 and joined the crew of Berezovoi and Lebedev already on board. They spent nearly seven days carrying out a program of joint Soviet-French experiments, including a series of French echography cardiovascular monitoring system experiments, before returning to Earth after a flight lasting 7 days, 21 hours, 50 minutes, 42 seconds.
Following the mission he was appointed Chief, CNES Astronaut Office.
Chrétien was selected as the back-up payload specialist for STS-51G. During 1984-85, he participated in mission training at the Johnson Space Center.
Chrétien made his second space flight as a research-cosmonaut on board Soyuz TM-7, which launched on November 26, 1988. Together with Volkov and Krikalev, he linked up with Mir 1 and joined the crew of Titov Manarov and Polyakov already on board. They spent 22 days carrying out a program of joint Soviet-French experiments, including a 5 hour 57 minute EVA by Volkov and Chrétien during which the two men installed the French ERA experimental deployable structure and a panel of material samples. In making the EVA, he became the first non-American and non-Soviet cosmonaut to walk in space. In addition, he was the first non-Soviet cosmonaut to make a second space flight aboard a Soviet spacecraft. The mission lasted 24 days, 18 hours, 7 minutes.
During 1990-93, Chrétien participated in Buran spacecraft pilot training at the Moscow Joukovski Institute. He has also flown the Tupolev 154 and MIG 25 aircraft, flying simulators equivalent to the Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA).
Chrétien is fluent in English and Russian.