How to become an astronaut at the European Space Agency ESA

Deepak Gupta December 16, 2021
Updated 2021/12/16 at 6:39 PM

How do you become an astronaut: in? This is a question that probably interested many of us in childhood. The European Space Agency ESA however, has very specific ideas about what her future astronauts should be like. Anyone can apply. Above all, this shows the importance of space organizations such as NASA and Co. already today.

The dream of the astronaut

Astronaut: Each of us has probably already imagined being in. Space agencies such as NASA, ESA or the Russian space agency Roskosmos are constantly looking for new recruits for future missions in the vastness of space.

On ESA’s official website, the space agency has compiled all the important questions and answers that applicants should look out for. In the case of ESA, for example, those who opt for space travel have to go through a full six application rounds.

According to the authorities, the selection process for the 2021 application period will last until the end of 2022. During this time, the applicants’ physical, psychological and cognitive abilities will be tested. But sportiness and emotional resilience are not enough to make the dream of an astronaut come true.

Astronaut: inside must be free from giddiness and also be able to fly spaceships. Shown here: ESA astronaut Hans Schlegel takes a photo in front of the window of a space shuttle with a view of the ISS. Credit: imago images / agefotostock

How do you become an astronaut now: at ESA?

Applicants must have a university degree in a natural science subject such as physics, biology, chemistry or mathematics. But that alone is not enough. The final grades also determine a successful application.

In addition, work experience is the key. If you want to fly into space, you also have to be able to fly. Therefore, the space agency requires at least three years of flight experience as a pilot: in. Big plus: If you study aerospace engineering, this is an advantage in the application process, but it is not absolutely necessary.

English desired

Most of the astronauts inside fly on the international space station. The audience high above our heads is international and so the future astronauts at ESA must “have a good command of written and spoken English”.

Here, too, applicants can receive extra points if they can speak Russian. It is the second official language on the ISS. If you do not speak Russian, you will have to learn it anyway if you apply successfully.

Astronaut: inside are very healthy

In addition to numerous skills and knowledge, applicants must above all be one thing: in good health. Physical and mental health play a major role. The following list shows you what ESA pays particular attention to:

  • Passed health examination according to JAR-FCL 3, class 2 by an aviation doctor approved by an aero-medical authority (AME)
  • no proven disease
  • no proven alcohol, drug or tobacco addiction
  • all areas of the body must function without restrictions
  • The visual acuity must be 100 percent in both eyes (glasses and contact lenses are not allowed as an aid)
  • there must be no mental disorders or illnesses

After all, ESA requires its future astronauts to have good cognitive and mental skills. Last but not least, the future space pioneers would work “in an environment with high intellectual and social demands”.

Astronaut underwater training
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet practices a space walk in a special underwater pool. Credit: imago images / agefotostock

Strict age limit

As the ESA writes, staying in space is an extremely physically demanding endeavor. In permanent weightlessness, astronauts have to train regularly and often inside in order to counteract the threat of muscle wasting.

According to the European Space Agency, astronauts lose one percent of their bone mass inside weightlessness every month. So anyone who works on the ISS for six months has to recover at least six months back on earth in order to regenerate the bone mass, for example.

The maximum age limit is therefore 50 years, so that the chosen astronauts can complete at least two missions on behalf of ESA.

If you can meet all of these points, nothing stands in the way of your application as an astronaut: in the European Space Agency. However, you should be aware that a trip into space can be fatal. In addition, the journey into space has proven psychological consequences. These change the life of the astronaut: it has been proven inside.

Sources: ESA

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