The European Space Agency (ESA) said Tuesday it is recruiting young astronauts for the first time since 2008 and encouraging women and people with disabilities to apply.
The announcement came Tuesday at a virtual news conference involving ESA Director-General Jan Worner and current agency astronauts. Worner said while ESA still has astronauts from the final selection process, it needs new astronauts to ensure continuity and ensure a smooth transfer of knowledge from one class to another.
Worner said the agency is looking to add up to 26 permanent and reserve astronauts. And it strongly encourages women to apply as well as people with disabilities on its list to increase diversity among crews. The agency has launched a paracronaut program set up to examine what is needed to introduce astronauts with disabilities to the International Space Station.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti said if technology can allow other people to work and thrive in space, it can do the same for people with disabilities. When it comes to space travel, we are all disabled. You know, we all have a disability because we just weren’t meant to be up there. So what brings us from being, you know, incapable of going into space to being able to go into space is technology.
Applications for an astronaut job at ESA include a master’s degree in natural sciences, engineering, mathematics or computer science and three years of postgraduate experience. But the agency says it is looking for everyone, not specialists.
The application process starts on March 31 with all the details available on the ESA website. The period will last until May 28 this year with the result expected to be announced in October 2022.
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