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Astronaut applicants asked for patience as numbers exceed forecasts

Astronaut hopefuls are being asked for their patience as ESA processes over 23 000 applications to its Astronaut and Astronaut (with a disability) vacancies. This number far exceeds the Agency’s most optimistic forecasts.

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Head of space medicine at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre (EAC) Guillaume Weerts is part of the team leading the astronaut selection. He says the number of applications is a positive indication of the level of interest in space activities in Europe, but it will take some time to work through.

“At ESA, we firmly believe that every application should receive the attention it deserves. With the considerable number of applicants, it simply takes more time than initially foreseen,” explains Guillaume.

“Upon completion of the pre-screening stage, we found some applications did not fulfil the requirements stated in the applicable documentation, and these applicants were notified immediately. However, more than 80% of all remaining, eligible applications are still under review,” adds Antonella Costa, Human Resources Business Partner at ESA.

The next step for successful candidates is an invitation to a full day of testing at a facility in Europe. This step has already started and will last until at least the end of the year. Candidates are being invited progressively due to the work involved in this process and the need to consider COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

“If you have not yet been invited, it does not necessarily mean that your application is not being considered. We ask you for your patience as we process applications and issue these invitations,” says Antonella.

“We really want to thank everyone who did put themselves forward. We fully understand how important these applications are to candidates, and we are working to let everyone who applied know the outcome of their application as soon as possible.”

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Under the revised processing timeline, it is expected that all candidates will be notified of the outcome of their application by the end of November 2021 at the latest.

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