Science & Technology

ESA to expand astronauts fleet, opens door for disabled applicants

Paris, Feb 16 (efe-epa).- The European Space Agency on Tuesday launched its first astronaut hiring campaign in over a decade, looking to increase the number of female astronauts among its ranks and experimentally opening the door for people with physical disabilities.

It is the fourth hiring process since 1978, three years after the agency’s establishment, and the first since 2008. Applications can be submitted between 31 March and 28 May.

Currently, the agency is comprised of seven astronauts — including one woman — from Denmark, Germany, France, Italy and United Kingdom, although Briton Tim Peake has been on leave since October 2019.

This “will ensure the continuity” of the astronaut corps in the future and will allow a transfer of knowledge to newcomers, Jan Wörner, ESA director said during a virtual press conference.

The agency is looking to hire between four and six people to join the astronauts and other 20 to be part of the reserve team which takes part in specific projects.

A person with certain degree of physical disability will be chosen as part of the reserve team. EFE-EPA


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