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ESA completes stage one of astronaut selection

ESA astronaut selection stage 1 infographic. Credit: ESA

Edinburgh, 19 January 2022. – The European Space Agency (ESA) completed its astronaut selection, moving on to the next stage with 1391 applicants invited to a full day of testing.

The candidates were selected from over 23 000 European applications, ESA said. 

ESA issued the call for new astronauts in March last year recruiting anyone with a master’s degree in any STEM subject area. The salary was promised to be between €5400 – 8600 depending on experience, plus benefits. The six-step application process included an 80-page health requirement list. All examinations had to be self-funded by the applicant or by an organisation set up for this purpose.

The first round of testing after successfully passing the document screening process, focuses on psychological performance. This includes cognitive, technical, motor coordination and personality tests followed by a set of psychometric testing and practical exams. Interviews and group tests will then be carried out before medical testing to assess physical and mental health. 

The penultimate phase of the application process comprises a commission interview, during which technical and behavioural competencies are examined. ESA’s new astronauts and reserve astronauts are to be announced in Q3 2022, after a final interview with the CEO.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: Say YES to diversity and gender equality in the space sector: a look at the Diversity and Gender Equality Project Group of the SGAC

Diversity is difficult to measure and quantify, given all the aspects and shapes it takes, yet it is easy to witness and observe the lack of it in many fields including the space sector. If the space sector and all its disciplines should be used to help improve life on earth and observe it (amongst other purposes), shouldn't it be represented by all terrestrial individuals equally? In an ideal world, yes! But history and social biases have prevented our progress towards this perfect world, and we find ourselves today with a space sector still dominated by cis white-male individuals.