An Out-Of-This-World Opportunity; Become An ESA Astronaut

In the six decades or so of human space exploration, depending on whose definition you take, only 562 people have flown in to space. We haven’t quite reached the state of holidaying in space that science fiction once promised us even though the prospect of sub-orbital spaceflight for the exceedingly well-heeled is very close, so that cadre of astronauts remains an elite group whose entry is not for the average person. Some readers might have an opportunity to change that though, as the European Space Agency have announced a fresh round of astronaut recruitment that will open at the end of March.

Sadly for our American readers the successful applicants have to hail from ESA member states, but since that covers a swathe of European countries we’re guessing that a lot of you might have your long-held dreams of spaceflight revived by it. You can learn more at a press conference to be held on the 16th of February, and streamed via ESA Web TV. Meanwhile whoever is recruited will be likely not only to participate in missions to the ISS, but maybe also more ambitious planned missions such as those to the planned Lunar Gateway space station in Lunar orbit. If you think you’ve got the Euro version of The Right Stuff, you’ll have the 8 weeks from the end of March until the 28th of May to get your application in. Good Luck!

25 thoughts on “An Out-Of-This-World Opportunity; Become An ESA Astronaut

    1. From the link: “ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia and Latvia are Associate Members.”

      1. Here in Australia we are honorary members of Eurovision.
        Perhaps – pretty please – can we get that extended to ESA as well?
        We could enter an astronaut that can sing well, if that helps.

        1. Well you’ve got a space port, sort of, Woomera test range. Should bet some bogans a few cases of VB that they can’t find enough Black Arrow parts to build one. Or tell the Japanese that if they’re launching anything manned from there, after the space probes the other year, a ticket is part of the price.

      1. I did not know that. Despite still being a member do Brits need a visa now to do ESA work in Europe?
        Sadly, as a Brit myself I despair of my countrymen making a choice that denies me the opportunity to live and work in Europe. Thanks guys. Way to go.

        1. Nope, according to the ESA convention the ESA member states allow ESA staff to live and work for ESA in the ESA member states, without requiring a visa.
          (Same as for other intergovernmental organisations)

    2. As other have mentioned, the UK is still in the ESA. However, all ESA astronaut candidates *must* be able to speak English, so even if we weren’t in, they’d still be speaking our language ;)

      1. Technically, you have to speak at least either English or French.
        Depending on the ESA establishment, you’ll not get very far without English though.
        (Same goes for French at other sites)

    1. Organized by Germans (project paperclip), designed (project paperclip) and operated by the fine people of Florida, manufacturing by the cheapest subcontractor in Utah and shipped across three quarters of the country in segments by rail. Nothing ever went wrong?

      1. I don’t think the German engineers had much say in how the project was run.

        The reason why Germans are so efficient in engineering is because they try to avoid German bureaucracy at all costs. You do things right the first time and cover all your bases. Now, when the Germans are running the bureaucracy, while the French are pretending it’s their show, what you get is something else entirely… I mean, what has ESA managed to get done lately?

          1. Dude: Skylon is being done by Reaction Engines Ltd, not ESA. They have had grants from ESA but then they’ve also had grants from DARPA, among others.

        1. “The reason why Germans are so efficient in engineering is because they try to avoid German bureaucracy at all costs.”

          Yeah. I made the mistake once of trying to work *with* the bureaucracy, and since then I often wake up screaming in the middle of the night. :/

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