ESA Recruiting New Class of Astronauts

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti working on the 3D Printer aboard the space station. (Credits: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — For the first time in 11 years, ESA is looking for new astronauts. These recruits will work alongside ESA’s existing astronauts as Europe enters a new era of space exploration.

Media representatives are invited to a virtual press event on Tuesday, 16 February, to learn more about the vacancies that are intended to initiate a real generational change for ESA.

The starting point for this is 31 March 2021, when the vacancies for new astronauts open. ESA is strongly encouraging women to apply, because we are seeking to expand gender diversity in our ranks.

ESA Director General Jan Wörner says, “Thanks to a strong mandate from ESA Member States at Space19+, our Ministerial Council in 2019, Europe is taking its place at the heart of space exploration. To go farther than we ever have before, we need to look wider than we ever have before. This recruitment process is the first step and I look forward to watching the agency develop across all areas of space exploration and innovation, with our international partners, in the years to come.”

“Representing all parts of our society is a concern that we take very seriously,” says David Parker, ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration. “Diversity at ESA should not only address the origin, age, background or gender of our astronauts, but also perhaps physical disabilities. To make this dream a reality, alongside the astronaut recruitment I am launching the Parastronaut Feasibility Project – an innovation whose time has come.”

The vacancy runs from 31 March to 28 May 2021 and ESA will only consider applications submitted to the ESA Career website within those eight weeks. After that, the six-stage selection process will start, which is expected to be completed in October 2022.

The press event on 16 February marks the start of the communication campaign for the application phase.

Conference programme per language

English (Tuesday 16 February, 13:00–14:00 CET)

Participants

  • Jan Wörner, ESA Director General
  • Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA astronaut
  • Tim Peake, ESA astronaut
  • David Parker, ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration
  • Frank De Winne, ESA Low Earth Orbit Exploration Group Leader, Head of the European Astronaut Centre
  • Jennifer Ngo-Anh, ESA Research and Payloads Programme Coordinator, Human and Robotic Exploration
  • Lucy van der Tas, ESA Head of Talent Acquisition

The press conference will be moderated (in English) by Ninja Menning, Communication Department  

French (Tuesday 16 February, 13:00–14:00 CET)

Participants

  • Claudie Haigneré, ESA astronaut
  • Luca Parmitano, ESA astronaut
  • Ersilia Vaudo-Scarpetta, Chief Diversity Officer
  • Guillaume Weerts, Space Medicine & European Astronaut Centre Management Support Team Lead
  • Didier Schmitt, Strategy & Coordination Group Lead, Human and Robotic Exploration
  • Zineb Elomri, Human Resources Officer

The press conference will be moderated (in French) by Jules Grandsire, Communication Department  

German (Tuesday 16 February, 14:30–15:30 CET)

Participants

  • Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA astronaut
  • Alexander Gerst, ESA astronaut
  • Josef Aschbacher, future ESA Director General
  • Chiara Manfletti, Head of Policy and Programme Coordination Department
  • Rüdiger Seine, Space Training Team Leader
  • Dagmar Boos, Head of Human Resources Competence & Policy Centre

The press conference will be moderated (in German) by Jules Grandsire, Communication Department  

Dutch (Tuesday 16 February, 14:30–15:30 CET)

Participants

  • André Kuipers, ESA astronaut
  • Frank De Winne, Low Earth Orbit Exploration Group Leader, Head of the European Astronaut Centre
  • Angelique Van Ombergen, Science Coordinator for Human Research, Human and Robotic Exploration
  • Lucy van der Tas, Head of Talent Acquisition

The press conference will be moderated (in Dutch) by Ninja Menning, Communication Department  

Italian (Tuesday 16 February, 15:30–16:30 CET)

Participants

  • Luca Parmitano, ESA astronaut
  • Ersilia Vaudo-Scarpetta, Chief Diversity Officer
  • Josef Aschbacher, future ESA Director General
  • Sara Pastor, I-HAB Team Leader
  • Antonella Costa, Human Resources Business Partner

The press conference will be moderated (in Italian) by Fabrizio L’Abbate, Communication Department  

Spanish (Tuesday 16 February, 15:30–16:30 CET)

Participants

  • Matthias Maurer, ESA astronaut
  • Fabio Favata, Head of Strategy, Planning & Coordination Office
  • Sergi Vaquer Araujo, Senior Flight Surgeon
  • Rosario Martin-Sanchez, Head of Social Security & Related Policies Unit

The press conference will be moderated (in Spanish) by Emmet Fletcher, Communication Department

The press conference will be streamed at esawebtv.esa.int, but only registered media will be able to ask questions.

Upcoming events are posted on the launch calendar and events calendar at www.esa.int/newsroom.

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