Pedro Duque, now Minister of Science, has made a whole generation of young people dream of carrying the Spanish flag on spaceflight. Now, a few years later, with the plan to return man to the moon and with Mars as a next stop, the European Space Agency (ESA) It needs more astronauts.
For precisely that and adapting to new technologies, I just announced that registration deadlines will soon open for European candidates to apply as new astronauts. More than a decade after the merger of the last decade, millions of young people from European Union countries They will be able to register from March 31, 2021 through May 28.
Despite noticeable improvement in spacecraft in recent years, these flights still mean significant physical wear. In addition to the psychological state that can be affected by living together in very few square meters, the travel time and the distance from the mainland where family and friends live.
As reported by the European Space Agency itself, upcoming astronauts will focus particularly on work on the International Space Station and on missions like the Artemis program. The goal would be to have at least one flight per year that could be aboard merchant ships such as Dragon from SpaceX or subsequent flights from Boeing.
What does an astronaut need?
The first condition is to apply for a place using the form that the ESA itself will open on March 31. As published in the terms, The candidate will have to send in his CV, letter of motivation, copy of his passport and medical certificate Also required for private pilots with perfect vision (and can wear glasses or contact lenses) and hearing.
This is all “paperwork”, but the requirements are much more. The first academic requirement imposed by ESA is that candidates need a master’s degree from an academic institution in a number of scientific disciplines.
Natural sciences, medicine, engineering, mathematics, and computer science will be the titles that astronauts will acquire. Another requirement is that they have worked for 3 years and The maximum age to apply is set at 50 years old.
Pilots who have a pilot flight license issued by the Air Force of some countries such as France, the United Kingdom and the United States will also be considered. All candidates who fulfill these requirements will be screened one by one to pass the various exams.
Regarding languages, the agency assured that knowledge of English fluency and knowledge of other languages would be of positive value. Russian is one of the most relevant and most widely recorded languages, due to the European Space Agency’s close relationship with the Russian Space Agency to launch astronauts via Soyuz because it is the second official language of the International Space Station.
They declared from the European Space Agency that “to overcome the challenges and complexities of a hostile environment such as space, astronauts must meet a set of physical, medical and psychological health standards.”
“Being an astronaut takes a lot of body and mind, With long periods away from family and friends, a heavy workload and irregular work hours with procedures that go beyond their comfort zone. And to end this section, they also indicated that the candidates should not be addicted of any kind.
After passing the first candidate measured by the curriculum and the rest of the candidate’s training and experience requirements You will spend an intense, intense training period that lasts about a year and a half.
They noted from the European Space Agency (ESA) that applicants’ physical conditions are very important, but they are not looking for professional athletes or people of high physical ability. Among the more specific exercises, future astronauts will have to perform the activity of swimming, simulating zero gravity, or diving underwater for eight hours a day.
As well as a certain level of psychological training. They noted from the space agency: “It is imperative that astronauts work well as a team, even in cramped spaces and under stressful conditions.”
One of those exercises is from Spend several days in a cave. It is an activity that European astronauts undertake with others from other agencies to promote teamwork in such a complex situation.
After successfully passing the six training phases – both psychological and physical – the astronaut will be able to split into two pre-defined groups. The first, of which there are only 4 places, corresponds to professional astronauts. This will be directly integrated into ESA staff.
On the one hand, there is the possibility of falling into the set of reservations, as the European Space Agency has created a total of 20 places. These astronauts will continue to carry out their professional activities outside the European Space Agency and will only be required for specific missions. All astronauts are expected to be ready in October 2022.
One of the developments in the opening of nominations is that There will also be space for astronauts with disabilities. As explained by the European Space Agency (ESA), it is a project that they have jointly carried out with the International Paralympic Committee in the search for adapting some space missions.
“Right now we are at point zero. The door is closed for people with disabilities. With this pilot project we have the ambition to open this door and make the leap, and go from zero to one.”
The requirements to be a Parastronaut are very similar they must all be psychologically, cognitively, technically and professionally qualified to be astronauts. Only that handicap would put them out of any other selection process in the rest of the space agencies in the world.
Specifically, candidates who are deficient in some lower limb (one or both feet below the ankle or one or both legs below the knee) will be eligible. Likewise, those with a difference in leg length and short stature (<1.30 m). All of them, whose exact number is unknown, will become part of the reserve astronaut team.
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