Pierre Touboul passed away

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Pierre Touboul on Monday 15th of February night.

Pierre has spent his entire scientific career at ONERA since 1982. He was very quickly interested in space electrostatic accelerometers with spatial gradiometry for the first application. In this context, he studied with ESA the ARISTOTELES project, which became the GOCE mission, launched in 2009. In space geodesy, he also drew on the know – how of his team in space accelerometry: with the missions of GFZ (CHAMP) and NASA (GRACE) whose satellites were launched in 2000 and 2002 respectively, and based on the space experience acquired with the ASTRE instrument launched three times on the American shuttle COLUMBIA in the mid-90s.

He worked for several decades on the way of measuring the principle of equivalence in space: with the STEP, QuickSTEP, MiniSTEP, STE-QUEST missions and, of course, on the MICROSCOPE mission as PI of the mission. In fundamental physics, he also participated in the LISA project where he contributed to the definition of the inertial sensor taken as a starting point for the ESA LISAPathfinder mission.

Until 2011, he was Director of the "Physical Measurements" Department of ONERA and until 2016 Scientific Director of the "Physics branch". From 2013 to 2015, he also acted as interim general scientific director. Recognized internationally as well as by the Servant Grand Prix of the Academy of Sciences in 2018, all those who worked with him will remember his scientific rigor, his energy and above all his constant humor.

He has been the pillar of the accelerometer projects at ONERA and a guide for all of us to achieve the fantastic results we have today. We have lost also a friend.