The European Space Agency (ESA) is gearing up to hire 26 permanent and reserve astronauts. What is even better is that it is looking forward to receiving applications from women and people with disabilities, so that it has a more diverse crew.
Those possessing a master’s degree in natural sciences, engineering, mathematics or computer science and three years of post-graduate experience may apply for the astronaut positions.
The selection process will be a tough one, as ESA is anticipating a deluge of applications. The drive will last till the end of March.
The hiring process will be a long and challenging one comprising a six-stage rigorous selection process, which will not be completed before October 2022. Only those who are really mentally strong can get through the process.
Two types of astronauts will be hired by ESA. About four to six career astronauts will be hired to be on the rolls of ESA. They will be allowed to travel on missions of a long duration, and may also be given commanding roles.
Reserve astronauts, on the other hand, will be assigned flexible roles. They will not be on the rolls of ESA, but will be associated with a specific flight or mission and may be hired by the ESA temporarily on a four-year contract. About 20 reserve astronauts will be hired.
This is the first time in 11 years that new astronauts are being hired as European nations work on missions to the Moon and Mars.