You dream of becoming an ESA astronaut ? First, read the requirements below to make sure you are eligible. All space agencies have very restrictive requirements to send people in space, ESA too. Height, visual acuity, educational and professional background… Do you meet all the expectations to become an ESA astronaut ?
Nationality, gender and age requirements to become an ESA astronaut
- You have to be a citizen of an European Space Agency member state : Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
- Preferred age range when you apply is between 27 to 37.
- Men and women are both eligible to become an ESA astronaut.
Physical and medical requirements to become an ESA astronaut
Several decades ago, astronauts spent a few days in space. Nowadays, this is always months, and perhaps it will be years when we’ll target to send people on Mars ! That’s why physical and medical requirements to become an ESA astronaut are so hard to complete. You may even think it’s unfair, but your body must be adapted to the dimensions of space equipment (space capsule, space station …) and ESA has to take as few risks as possible because in space it is difficult to treat a sick or wounded person.
- Your height must be between 1,53m to 1,90m (60,2 to 74,8 inches)
- A normal weight is required, according to your gender and your age
- You must have a satisfactory medical history. ESA will evaluate your muscular system, your cardiovascular system and your vestibular system (to make sure you have a good balance).
Education to become an ESA astronaut
ESA requires a university degree (or equivalent) in Engineering, Medicine or Natural Sciences to be eligible.
Professional experience to become an ESA astronaut
- In addition to an university degree, astronaut candidates must have at least three years postgraduate professional experience in a related field.
- High knowledge in scientific fields is required by ESA. Astronaut candidates must have proven outstanding ability in applicable fields, including operational skills. ESA appreciate profiles such as test pilots and flight engineers.
Other skills and requirements
- You must speak English fluently, even if it’s not your native language. Speaking russian is an asset for your application as you will have speak to russians in the International Space Station or in other future space stations, and during your training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia. Also, you may have to pilot russian spacecrafts, as the Soyuz capsule. User manuals are not translated into English ! If you are interested in American, Japanese or Russian culture, it’s also an asset to communication with ESA’s international partners.
- Flying experience is welcomed but not mandatory
- Psychological requirements : first, you must have a sound mental health. ESA expects the astronaut candidates to have a good reasoning capability and memory, manual dexterity, aptitude for spatial orientation and a huge concentration capacity.
- Your personality must demonstrate a high degree of motivation, sociability and flexibility. A lack of aggressiveness and an emotional stability are essential. As said before, space missions are more and more long. You must be able to create and maintain a serene work environment with your international colleagues in a confined space.
- A basic diving certificate is an asset, as your working conditions when you’ll do an EVA (spacewalk) will be quite similar as when you are diving.
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