Vladimir Pletser

Astronaut Candidate, Director of Space Training Operations


Vladimir Pletser 2

Belgian Astronaut Candidate and hav­ing worked for 30 years at the European Space Agency in charge of micro­grav­i­ty projects and ESA par­a­bol­ic flights, Vladimir Pletser is cur­rent­ly Director of Space Training Operations at Blue Abyss to train future astronauts. 

Vladimir Pletser was born on February 28, 1956 in Brussels, Belgium. He grad­u­at­ed in Latin-Mathematics from the Institut Saint-Boniface of Brussels, and in Special Scientific from the Collège Saint-Michel of Brussels. He grad­u­at­ed from the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, as Civil Engineer in Mechanics, spe­cial­ism Dynamics and Systems; Master in Physics in Space Geodesy; and Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics. 

He worked as Research Engineer from 1980 to 1981 at the Department of External Geophysics of the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium on the ionos­pher­ic Doppler effect, and, from 1981 to 1982, at the Faculty of Agronomy of the UCL, on prob­lems of applied sta­tis­tics and math­e­mat­i­cal mod­el­ling. In 1982, he became Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the UCL, and detached at the University of Kinshasa, Congo (ex-Zaïre), where he lec­tured until 1985 in Physics, Applied Mathematics, Astronomy and Geophysics. 

From 1985 to 2016, he was senior Physicist-Engineer at the European Space Research and Technology Centre of the European Space Agency, man­ag­ing ISS micro­grav­i­ty pay­load devel­op­ment and ESA par­a­bol­ic flight pro­gram. He logged 7350 parabo­las at 0g (equiv­a­lent to 39h 30m of 0g, or 26 Earth orbits), at Mars‑g (53 min) and at Moon‑g (50 min) on 14 air­planes (Guinness world record) dur­ing 90 cam­paigns on European, US and Russian air­craft, super­vis­ing 1000 phys­i­cal and life sci­ences exper­i­ments and tak­ing part in 175 experiments. 

From 2016 to 2018, he was Visiting Professor – Scientific Adviser at the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Beijing, China, where he pro­vid­ed sup­port to micro­grav­i­ty exper­i­ments for the Chinese Space Station and par­a­bol­ic flights. Since 2018, he is Director of Space Training Operations at Blue Abyss, a com­pa­ny based in the UK, propos­ing a new approach to train future astronauts.

Astronaut can­di­date for Belgium, he spent two months in train­ing in 1995 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and was Astronaut Training Instructor for par­a­bol­ic flights and Spacelab mis­sions. He par­tic­i­pat­ed in three Mars Society’s mis­sion sim­u­la­tion cam­paigns in the Arctic in 2001 and the Utah Desert in 2002 and as Crew Commander in 2009. He is vis­it­ing Professor in 20 uni­ver­si­ties in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. He has more than 700 pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing 23 books or chap­ter in books, 65 arti­cles in ref­er­eed jour­nals and 147 arti­cles in inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ences pro­ceed­ings. He is mem­ber of the International Astronautical Academy and of sev­er­al oth­er acad­e­mies and sci­en­tif­ic orga­ni­za­tions.

The archive of Vladimir Pletser