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ESA Astronaut Class of 2022 Graduates

ESA 2022 Class Astronauts
ESA 2022 Class Astronauts. Credit: Josef Aschbacher/ESA

Ibadan, 23 April 2024. – The European Space Agency (ESA) has celebrated the graduation of its class of 2022 astronaut candidates. The ceremony, held at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany, signified the successful completion of basic training for the five European astronaut graduates and the Australian Space Agency’s first astronaut, all now eligible for spaceflight assignments.

The new graduates ESA astronauts are Sophie Adenot, Pablo Álvarez Fernández, Rosemary Coogan, Raphaël Liégeois and Marco Sieber. Also, as a testament to ESA’s commitment to international collaboration, Katherine Bennell-Pegg from the Australian Space Agency graduated with her fellow ESA classmates.

The astronaut candidates commenced their basic training in April 2023, first at ESA’s European Astronaut Center and then across the globe. They also completed a comprehensive one-year training program covering essential skills such as spacecraft systems, spacewalking, flight engineering, robotics and life support systems, as well as survival and medical training. After certification, the ESA astronauts from the new class will move on to the next phases of pre-assignment and mission-specific training, paving the way for future missions to the International Space Station and beyond.

Speaking at the graduation, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said, “Today is a significant milestone as we celebrate the graduation of a new class of five ESA astronauts, who are now qualified to be assigned to future spaceflights. I am also proud to witness the graduation of an Australian astronaut candidate, which reaffirms our dedication to advancing international cooperation in space exploration.” The Director General also added, “The addition of fresh talent and diverse perspectives and expertise enhances our ability to navigate the complexities of space exploration and solidifies ESA’s role as a pioneering force in shaping our future in space.”

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