European Space Agency launches recruitment drive for female and disabled astronauts

European Space Agency launches recruitment drive for female and disabled astronauts
European Space Agency launches recruitment drive for female and disabled astronauts

The European Space Agency is holding its first recruitment drive in 11 years and is highlighting its desire to recruit more women astronauts this year, as well as people with disabilities who have always dreamed of going into space.

  • “We are looking towards the Moon … and Mars. We need very excellent astronauts for the future,” said the ESA’s Director General Jan Worner.
  • “Representing all parts of our society is a concern that we take very seriously,” said David Parker, the agency’s Human and Robotic Exploration Director. “Diversity at ESA should not only address the origin, age, background or gender of our astronauts, but also perhaps physical disabilities.”
  • Adapting technology that enabled humans to be in space could open the opportunity for people with disabilities, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti said. “When it comes to space travel, we are all disabled,” Cristoforetti added.
  • The application process, agency officials say, will take some 18 months, before a handful of successful astronauts will be chosen.
  • The ESA is seeking candidates with a Master’s degree or higher and a minimum of three years experience in natural sciences, medicine, engineering, mathematics, and computer sciences.
  • They will be subjected to psychological test series, practical and psychometric testing, a medical selection, and two rounds of interviews. The appointments are to be announced in October 2022.

Only 65 of the more than 560 people who have ever gone into space have been women. Of those 65 women, 51 were American. The ESA has sent only two women into space.