I am just wondering why 's'envolait' (a one-0ff event), when above this sentence you had written 'Il a travaillé extrêmement dur', which would have been over a much longer time period.
Freeform Writing Exercise B2
Try to compare these two flavorings:
Seven years later, he was flying on his first mission....Seven years later, he flew on his first mission...
The first sentence corresponds to the French use of imperfect tense. As you can see, even in English, it's perfectly OK to use the continuous form (-ing form) when narrating past events that have no connection to the present.
Most of the times it is helpful to think of the French imparfait as corresponding to the English continuous form.
This is how the text reads to me:--
Seven years after having worked extremely hard to train to become an astronaut he took his first trip into space.
We don't know how long the training period was, but seven years after this training period was completed; he took his first trip into space.
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