Press Release

UK astronaut hopefuls reach phase two of selection

By SpaceRef Editor
February 11, 2022
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More than 160 British candidates have made it through to the next stage of ESA’s astronaut selection campaign, according to the agency’s latest figures.

After passing a rigorous screening process, the successful applicants will now take part in a psychological performance evaluation at a specialist facility in Europe.

ESA opened its first astronaut vacancy in over a decade in March 2021, with more than 22 000 people completing an application.

This was well over double the level of interest when compared to ESA’s last selection process in 2008, according to the official figures.

France had the highest number of applicants (7087) followed by Germany (3695) and the UK (2000).

Through the initial screening phase, ESA whittled down 22 523 applicants to a shortlist of 1361, with at least three phase two candidates from each of ESA’s member states.

The shortlist includes 166 applicants from the UK, comprising of 89 men and 77 women.

As part of the campaign, ESA also opened a vacancy for astronauts with a disability for the first time. This resulted in 257 applications, with 27 people making it through to phase two.

Candidates who are successful at the next phase will go on to participate in a set of psychological interviews and group tests ahead of medical testing. Those who pass each of these selection stages will be invited to recruitment interviews.

ESA’s new class of astronauts and reserve astronauts is expected to be announced in autumn 2022.

Sue Horne, Head of Space Exploration at the UK Space Agency, said: “It’s exciting to see so many UK candidates making it through to the next phase of ESA’s astronaut selection and the number shows the high calibre of our applications. Those who make it through the round of psychometric and psychological tests will be invited to further testing at the European Astronaut Centre in Germany.

“The UK space sector continues to grow and, while being an astronaut is a dream for many people, there are a range of potential career paths out there to explore.”

SpaceRef staff editor.