ESA will launch a new astronaut selection process in which it will hire more women and people with physical disabilities. It is also looking for master students for internships
Have you dreamed of becoming an astronaut since you were a child? Now you have the opportunity to fulfill your dream! For the first time in more than a decade, European Space Agency (ESA) will launch the next March 31, 2021 a selection process to hire new astronauts.
Specifically, the agency will hire four racing astronauts, which will be trained for complex or long-term space missions and will be permanent members of ESA staff. Will also recruit 20 more reserve astronauts, who will only be called for specific space missions, Rosario Martín-Sánchez, head of ESA’s Social Security and Related Policies Unit, has indicated at a press conference.
Additionally, ESA has opened a call for its program Young Graduate Trainee (YGT), through which it offers young master students the opportunity to work in the agency as scientists or engineers trainees and support from Earth the space missions that are carried out. The Deadline to apply for one of these positions is March 1, 2021.
ESA is looking for women astronauts and people with physical disabilities
ESA’s only active female astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti, on the space station. Image: ESA
In the new call to hire astronauts, ESA is especially looking for women. And, in the history of the agency there have only been three, including the Italian Samantha Cristoforetti, currently the only active.
“ESA will accept all applications from applicants as long as they have the appropriate qualifications, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, beliefs, age, nationality. In this call we especially encourage women to apply for increase gender diversity in future astronaut corps“, explained Martín-Sánchez.
Also, for the first time in the agency’s history, one or two people who have a physical disability will be selected, but who are psychologically, cognitively, technically and professionally qualified to be astronauts. The idea is that they are part of a feasibility project for “parastronauts”, whose objective is to evaluate whether people with these characteristics can be sent to space. If you want to know more details about this initiative, you can consult a section of the ESA website about it.
The requirements to apply as an ESA astronaut
The Call for applications for an ESA astronaut position will open on March 31 and end on May 28, 2021. The agency will only consider requests sent to its website within those eight weeks. The eight-stage selection process will then begin, to be completed in October 2022.
To apply for the ESA astronaut position, it is essential have master’s studies and work experience of three years in areas like the math, the engineering, the medicine, natural or computational sciences, or have a degree as an experimental test pilot and / or a test engineer from an official school for experimental test pilots.
You also need to have good physical and emotional health, be citizen of a country member of the European Space Agency, and master english, although knowing another language is an extra advantage.
ESA notes that Applicants do not need to have a pilot’s license, but they must present a class 2 medical certificate issued by an aviation medical examiner showing that they are medically qualified for a private pilot license (PPL).
To know all the requirements you need to participate in this astronaut selection process, consult the ESA website about this call.
Participate in the practices of the European Space Agency
Now, if traveling to space is not in your plans, but you would like to paid internships at the European Space Agency on Earth, you can aspire to the vacancies it offers for interns within its program Young Graduate Trainee (YGT). In this 2021, the call to apply for one of them ends on March 1.
Among the requirements to participate are be a final year student of a master’s degree at a university or a recent graduate of STEM careers, as well as mastering English and, of course, being a citizen of any of the countries that belong to this European institution.
The agency offers young graduates a one or two year contract, with 2.5 days of paid leave per month, a monthly salary of between 2,300 and 2,700 euros net, travel expenses and health coverage, among other benefits.
Currently on offer 108 jobs for internships in different ESA headquarters and departments. In Spain there are two job opportunities for interns at the ESAC headquarters in Villanueva de la Cañada, in Madrid, both for engineers specialized in data.
Do not wait any longer and check the vacancies, to see which one you could fit in. Remember you can only choose a maximum of two vacant positions, according to the bases of this call.
What other skills do you need to be an astronaut?
In addition to having master’s degrees in STEM fields, to be an astronaut you need to have certain both professional and transversal competences. For example, you must be a emotionally stable person, able to work under pressure, that you can take large amounts of information and select it and then make decisions quickly. “You must also have manual skills and good 3D vision to understand how you are located in space “, said Sergi Vaquer Araujo, flight surgeon senior, at a press conference.
From a medical point of view, it is necessary to be in good health, not having any type of addiction to harmful substances and having normal joint mobility, good vision and hearing. You also have to be willing to have flexible work hours, travel frequently, and be away from family and friends constantly.
If you want to know what the work of an astronaut is like, check out the following video of the press conference to present the new ESA selection process, in which active astronauts share their experiences and how they have become “space travelers”.
Did you know…?
- ESA has announced that European manned space missions to the Moon are planned in the coming years (along with NASA), and later to Mars.
- The ESA has only recruited new astronauts three times since 1978. The last call was in 2008 and the selection in 2009.
- The Italian Samantha Cristoforetti (Milan, 1977) is the only woman in the corps of European astronauts. He studied aerospace engineering, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and also has military pilot training and experience as such in the Italian air force. She was selected as an ESA astronaut in 2009 and her first space trip was in 2014.