Astronaut Claude Nicollier at USI
Institutional Communication Service
20 June 2022
Claude Nicollier, Astronaut from the Department of Space Sciences of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the first Swiss to go into space, spoke at USI Lugano campuses. As a spokesperson for the newly established SXS (Space Exchange Switzerland) consortium in which USI - along with EPFL, ETH Zürich, Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW) and the University of Zurich - is a partner, he was a guest of the annual meeting of the Career Services Network Switzerland (CSNCH) on Thursday, 16 June 2022.
Professor Nicollier met with USI PhDs in the morning, followed by the talk "A space for career" at the East Campus Lugano.
The event was also attended by 45 representatives of the career services of Swiss universities.
After graduating from high school in Lausanne in 1962, Claude Nicollier studied physics at the University of Geneva, earning a bachelor's degree in 1970. In 1975 he was awarded a master's degree in astrophysics. At the same time, he became a pilot in the Swiss Air Force, attaining the rank of captain and collecting 5600 flight hours (including 4,000 flying Hawker Hunter MK 58 and F-5 E Tiger). In 1978 he received his test pilot's license at the Empire Test Pilot's School in Boscombe Down. In 1974 he attended the Swiss Air Transport School in Zurich, becoming an airline pilot for Swissair on DC-9s. In 1976 he joined the Space Science Department of the European Space Agency (ESA), where he worked as a researcher. In July 1978, he was selected by ESA as a member of the first astronaut team and later, through an agreement between the two space agencies, joined NASA for training as a mission specialist. In 2004 he accepted a professorship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, where he became a professor in 2007 (the year he left ESA).