The European Space Agency Is Searching For New Astronauts

For the first time in over a decade, the European Space Agency (ESA) is seeking new astronauts to join humankind’s greatest adventure.

The opportunity to become an ESA astronaut is rare and highly competitive with the ESA last seeking applicants for astronaut positions in 2008.

They have held only three recruitment rounds, including its first in 1978.

In addition to the career astronauts, who will be trained for long-duration or complex space missions and hired as permanent ESA staff members, ESA’s parastronaut feasibility project is a global first that aims to begin removing barriers for people with disabilities to carry out a professional space mission.

Individual(s) who are psychologically, cognitively, technically and professionally qualified to become astronauts, but who have a physical disability that would normally prevent them from being selected due to the restrictions of current space hardware are encouraged to apply.

Working with its international partners and commercial spaceflight providers to create a more accessible environment, and determine the feasibility of an astronaut with specific physical disabilities flying a safe and valuable mission to the International Space Station as we look ahead to the Moon and Mars.

ESA is looking for candidates from a large variety of profiles and backgrounds, but for the best chance of success, astronaut hopefuls are urged to familiarise themselves with the minimum requirements.

These include being a citizen of an ESA member state or associate state, holding the minimum of a Master’s degree in natural sciences, medicine, engineering, mathematics, or computer sciences or holding a degree as an experimental test pilot and/or test engineer from an official experimental test pilot school.

Candidates must have at least three years of relevant professional experience after graduation and be fluent in English.

Good knowledge of another foreign language and any other additional language is a plus.

Applicants do not need to hold a pilot’s license but they must submit a class 2 medical certificate issued by an aviation medical examiner that shows they are medically qualified for a private pilot licence (PPL).

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti – image ESA/NASA

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti was selected in ESA’s 2008-09 astronaut selection and describes becoming an astronaut as “a dream come true”.

“It brings together many of my passions: science and technology, complex machines, demanding operational environments, international teams, physical fitness, public outreach. And of course, occasionally you get to ride a rocket to work.”

Applications open March 31 and ESA’s Astronaut Selection webpage provides everything you need to know to prepare a strong application and apply.

This site is the hub for all ESA astronaut selection content and will be updated throughout the campaign.

There are many other exciting careers in the space sector beyond astronauts.

ESA is constantly on the lookout for experts in engineering, science, IT and business services to join its teams.

Discover ways to join ESA, wherever you are on your career path by visiting the ESA careers website.