First Spanish astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA) in traveling into space, born in Madrid on March 14, 1963. Raised in the Madrid district of San Blas, he was attracted from an early age by the aerospace world.
In 1980 he joined the school Superior of aeronautical engineering of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, where you obtained the degree of aeronautical engineering in 1986, with honors. In 1987 was national prize for completion of studies. That same year, the mechanical flight Group (GMV), so the working since 1986, it ceded to the European Centre for space operations (ESOC), located in the German city of Darmstadt. In Germany he worked as a specialist in orbital mechanics.
He has participated in the development of spatial works commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA) to the Spanish aerospace industry. These include the design and development of software to model the forces and moments on a spacecraft in the solar system, as well as the design and preliminary development of an advanced helicopter simulator, commissioned by the company Thomson, in France, the Spanish company GMV.
The space adventure of Pedro Duque began in 1990 when it decided to reply to a listing of press which called for scientists and engineers to be astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA). To do so he had to go through a selection process, divided into three stages. In the first one, from July 1990 at the end of that same year, he competed with about 658 Spaniards and more than six thousand Europeans. Then, in February 1991, had to overcome a number of technical, medical and psychological tests. At the end of January 1992, that list was reduced to twenty-five candidates, which included two Spaniards, Pedro Duque and César Arteaga. Finally, it only remained to overcome a personal interview.
Thus, on 15 May 1992, Claudio Aranzadi, Minister of industry and President of the Ministerial Conference of the European Space Agency, announced the selection of Pedro Duque to be part of the first team of astronauts of the ESA, involving other selected five from Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and Sweden. Duke was the youngest of them all.
Specific training, in Europe and in the United States, began it on June 1, 1992 to merge to the European astronaut Centre (EAC) Darmstadt (Cologne), where he made a first course of two months along with the other five astronauts selected. In mid-October 1992 he moved to Moscow for a four-week course in the "city of the stars" (Baikonur).
Months later, on May 7, 1993, he was pre-selected by ESA, together with the German Ulf Merbold, for the 30-day flight in October 1994 (Russia-ESA Euromir 94), so again to move to the Russian training center in August of that year. Finally, on 30 May 1994, Merbold, who had already made two space flights, was chosen for the EUROMIR project, while Duke was as alternate for the project, reserve land crew, playing the role of Chief Coordinator of liaison with the ship's crew.
On 21 March 1995, at the end of their period of training in Russia, he was decorated by President Yelstin with the order of friendship. On May 9, 1995 he was appointed by Deputy NASA's French astronaut Jean Jacques Favier, for the Mission of the Spacelab STS-78, the ship Columbia, scheduled for the summer of 1996. Finally could not make the trip, but just as in 1994, Duke was liaison with the crew chief coordinator.
On 14 August 1996 he traveled to Houston (USA) to follow a program of formation of NASA that would allow them to participate in missions aboard spaceships and the future international orbital station Alpha, involving U.S., Europe, Russia, Japan and Canada. On 21 November 1997, the Minister of industry and energy, Josep Piqué, and the director general of ESA, Antonio Rodotá, confirmed that Pedro Duque would be the representative of the European Space Agency on the Mission of the NASA Space Shuttle STS-95 Discovery ship, which took place on 29 October 1998.
In January 1998, Pedro Duque moved to the training center of astronauts 'Johnson Space Center"(Houston, Texas) where he remained until mid-October. There conducted a training focused on the ability of the crew of the shuttle to solve possible problems and handling of equipment and material. On 29 October 1998 the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-95 mission, began from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral (Florida), and Pedro Duque became the first Spanish astronaut of ESA in traveling into space.
This mission was another peculiarity, together with Pedro Duque traveled former Senator John Glenn, the more old man who travels to space (77 years) and who was the first American to make an orbital flight on February 20, 1962. On 16 June 1999 was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for international cooperation together with other three astronauts: John Glenn, Chiaki Mukai and Valeri Poliakov. Earlier, in the month of February, S.M. del Rey Don Juan Carlos I beat Pedro Duque la Gran Cruz to aeronautical merit.
In September 2002 he travelled to Russia to prepare their training in the face of the space mission of ten days in the ISS scheduled for April 2003, funded by Spain (12.8 million euros) and managed by the CDTI (Centre for Industrial technological development). The mission was postponed after the disaster of the Columbia that exploded in time to re-enter the atmosphere on February 2, 2003. The trip was finally scheduled for the month of October. Aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and in the company of the members of the 8th permanent crew LSS, Pedro Duque left from the Baikonur cosmodrome on October 18 with the aim of staying for ten days in space, eight of them on the ISS, and make a total of 24 experiments which constituted the so-called "Cervantes mission". His space journey concluded on 28 October 2003 after landing successfully in the steppe of Kazakhstan.
From November 2004 to October 2006 he served as Director of the Spanish USOC operations, in aeronautics at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid E.T.S.I.. During these years he gave several lectures in the course of free choice "Science and operations in space". In 2006 he was appointed Director General of Deimos Imaging, S.L., company located in the Parque Tecnológico de Boecillo, Valladolid, which on July 29, 2009 placed in orbit the first Spanish Earth observation satellite responsible for ensuring the good state of forest, advance in the detection and control of fires and the quality and agricultural applications. In 2010 she replaced Francisco Javier Martínez de Irujo in Executive President of Deimos Imaging, S.L.
In May 2011 he received the Medal of the Russian Federation "for merits in the exploitation of space".