Aspiring astronauts now have until 18 June 2021 to submit an application for ESA’s astronaut selection. The three-week extension comes as ESA welcomes Lithuania as a new Associate Member state.
Lithuania’s new status as an ESA Associate Member means Lithuanian citizens are now eligible to apply for all ESA vacancies. As a result, ESA is encouraging all those who meet the criteria for the ESA Astronaut or ESA Astronaut (with a physical disability) vacancies, and dream of flying to space, to put themselves forward.
Extending the deadline provides these applicants with the opportunity to submit a complete application.
Meeting medical requirements
Head of space medicine at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre (EAC) Guillaume Weerts says some new applicants may struggle to obtain a European Part-MED, Class 2 (Private Pilot) medical certificate by the deadline.
“While the deadline cannot be extended beyond 18 June due to the intensive selection process, there is a way forward for those who do not have a certificate in hand,” he says.
“Applicants must undergo the required medical examination by an aviation medical examiner certified by their national aviation medical authority. However, if you have not yet received your formal certificate, ESA will also accept a copy of the official medical report.
“The official certificate can then be provided at a later date if needed.”
Dream big and apply
One message that has been reiterated by current astronauts and ESA experts throughout the application period is that the only way to become an ESA astronaut is to apply.
In a recent video, ESA astronaut Andreas Møgensen shares how he was slightly embarrassed to tell a professor that he saw himself as an astronaut in five years’ time during an interview for a PhD position, but seven years later he was a member of ESA’s astronaut class of 2009.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti says those who have lingering doubts should also know that achieving success as an astronaut is not about how long your CV is or how many publications you have to your name, but who you are as a whole person.
“Some of you may be struggling with the idea that it may be difficult to reconcile your personal and family life with such a demanding job,” says Samantha. “But I would say that this is probably no different than any other demanding career. As a parent of two who has flown to space once and will fly again next year, I can tell you that it is possible and that at ESA we will be ready to support you.”
Astronaut is just one of the many space careers available at ESA. Vacancy notices for all ESA positions can be found on the ESA Careers website.