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