Dr. Ir. Vladimir Pletser earned degrees in Mechanical Engineering, a Master of Sciences in Geophysics and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Louvain, Belgium.
He is Visiting Professor – Scientific Adviser since April 2016 at the Technology and Engineering Centre for Space Utilization of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, supporting the preparation and development of microgravity research instrumentation for parabolic flights and for the future Chinese Space Station.
He was previously working for 30 years as Senior Physicist – Engineer at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) of the European Space Agency (ESA), in charge of developing scientific instruments for microgravity research in fluid physics, crystallisation of proteins and zeolites and on dexterous manipulation on board the International Space Station.
He was also responsible at ESA for the aircraft parabolic flight microgravity research program and he logged more than 7300 parabolas, representing more than 39h 18m of weightlessness, equivalent to 26 Earth orbits, and 52 min and 47 min at Mars and Moon g levels, during which he participated in several hundred experiments in physical and life sciences. He holds the official Guinness World Record for the number of airplanes (12) on which he flew parabolas.
Astronaut Candidate for Belgium since 1991, he was Payload Specialist candidate for several Spacelab missions, including Spacelab LMS for which he spent two months in training at NASA-JSC, Houston, in 1995.
Selected in 2001 by The Mars Society, a private organisation promoting the human exploration of Mars, he participated in three international simulation campaigns of Mars missions in the Arctic Circle in 2001 and in the Desert of Utah in 2002 and as Crew Commander in 2009.
He is visiting Professor in several universities in Europe, USA, Canada and Africa. He has more than 500 publications, including 11 books or chapter in books, 55 articles in refereed journals and 124 articles in international conferences proceedings.
He is member of the International Astronautical Academy and of several other academies and scientific organizations.
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