ESA is looking for new astronauts: like women but also ‘parastronauts’

For the first time in eleven years, Europeans can apply again to become an astronaut. On 31 March, the ESA Space Agency will launch a new recruitment campaign. At best, the elect will be able to participate in the forthcoming lunar missions on behalf of Europe.

โ€œ ESA strongly encourages women to apply because the Space Agency wants to increase gender diversity,โ€ says the press release. Not only in terms of gender, age or origin, the organization wants to โ€œrepresent all members of societyโ€. The goal is also to see if people with disabilities can become astronauts.

Dream Achieve

โ€œ We want to realize this dream,โ€ says David Parker, Director of Human and Robotic Exploration at ESA. โ€œAnd thats why Im launching the Parastronaut Feasibility Project โ€” an innovation that the world is ready for.โ€

Upon request, an ESA spokesperson shall not be able to provide further explanations on this plan. On 31 March, the European Space Agency will hold a press conference in which details should be clarified, such as the list of qualifications that an aspiring astronaut must meet.

You can register from then until 28 May. At the end of next year it becomes clear which of the applicants are allowed to join the team of astronauts.

Andrรฉ Kuipers

At the 1998 recruitment round, for example, the Dutchman Andrรฉ Kuipers was hired. He went into space twice and spent more than half a year in the International Space Station ISS. But the chances of such success are small.

ESAs last open applications took place in 2009, with some 8500 people registered, including some 200 Dutch people. Eventually six people were hired as astronaut: two Italians, a Dane, a German, a Brit and a Frenchman.

Manned lunar journeys

ESA and the American counterpart NASA made agreements on manned lunar trips at the end of last year. As a result, three Europeans are allowed to join the Orion Capsule. European astronauts are heading to the moon at the earliest in 2025 and 2026.