Claude Nicollier

Veteran Claude Nicollier is the first and only astronaut to come from Switzerland and has flown four Space Shuttle missions. Born in 1944, Nicollier studied physics at the University of Lausanne before going on to obtain a Master's degree in astrophysics from the University of Geneva. He became a Swiss Air Force pilot in 1966 and graduated as a test pilot in the UK in 1988; as a member of the Swiss Air Transport School from 1974, he also flew DC-9s for Swissair. His space career began in 1976 when he accepted a research fellowship at the European Space Agency's (ESA) Space Science Department in the Netherlands where he continued to work in various locations until 2007. He was selected by ESA as a member of the first group of European astronauts and made his first spaceflight in 1992. This was followed by flights in 1993, 1996 and 1999. During his last spaceflight, the third to service the Hubble Space Telescope, he made a spacewalk that lasted 8 hours and 10 minutes. He holds positions on various boards including Swiss Space Systems, Belenos Clean Power and the CSEM R&D center in Neuchâtel. Since 2007 Claude Nicollier has been working as a full Professor of Spatial Technology at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne and he carries the main responsibility for flight trials of the Solar Impulse project led by Bertrand Piccard. Overall, Claude Nicollier has spent more than 1,000 hours in space.