The first French woman in space has been hospitalized after she tried to take her own life, according to published reports.
Claudie Haignere, 51, was hospitalized late yesterday after she tried to commit suicide, an unidentified French government source told Agence France-Presse. Another source told AFP that Haignere overdosed on pills.
Haignere, a rheumatologist, flew to the MIR space station as an astronaut in 1996 and to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2001. She's studied how humans adapt their motor and cognitive skills in weightlessness and monitored astronauts from the ground. Later, on the MIR, she performed experiments in physiology, developmental biology, fluid physics and technology, according to the European Space Agency.
On the ISS, she helped swap out an emergency Soyuz spacecraft that's always docked at the station in case of emergency for a new one. After returning, Haignere described the experience as "a challenging and intensely fulfilling experience."
Haignere was France's minister for research and new technologies from June 2002 to March 2004, and European Affairs minister until May 2005. Her husband, Jean-Pierre Haignere, is an astronaut who completed two missions to the MIR in 1993 and 1999. She has one daughter.
Image of Claudie Haignere/Service photographique du Premier ministre via WikiMedia Commons