The new ESA astronauts have been selected | free press

More than ten years later, ESA again took part in the cosmonaut training course. When new planes can fly into space for the first time, it’s still in the stars.


The dream has come true for five Europeans: Frenchwoman Sophie Adinot, Spaniard Pablo Alvarez Fernandez, Briton Rosemary Cogan, Belgian Raphael Leygua and Swiss Marco Alain Sieber, who form a new astronaut crew for the European Space Agency (ESA). This was announced by the European Space Agency on Wednesday in Paris at the conclusion of the meeting of the European Space Agency’s Council of Ministers. But the stars are not yet accessible to newcomers.

Training begins in Cologne

For the five lucky candidates, the Rhine draws in front of the universe. Basic training takes place for one year at the European Cosmonaut Center in Cologne, where the crew learns the basics of natural sciences and engineering, learns the Russian language and also begins training for space flights. The newcomers then undergo the advanced course for about a year, during which they are specifically introduced to the ISS and, for example, support their space colleagues with ground control.

Only at the third stage of training, astronauts receive a specific task and prepare for it. For about a year and a half, the future astronauts have been dealing with how their mission’s experiments are conducted and what the science is behind them.

The first flight is still a long way off

So it could easily take three years, if not longer, for the new Astro crew to be able to take off into space. Matthias Maurer, for example, was accepted into the cosmonaut corps in 2017 and flew into space last November. Its German predecessor, Alexander Gerst, was unveiled to the public in May 2009, began training in September and then reached space for the first time in 2014.

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Where the new generation of astronauts will fly is still up in the stars. Because the future of the International Space Station is still uncertain. Russia has said it wants to withdraw from the joint venture after 2024. The US space agency NASA feels obligated to keep the outpost operational until at least 2030. Esa astronaut trips to the moon could take a long time. For example, it will be possible to send missions to the “Lunar Gate”, the station planned to orbit the Moon.

Flying opportunities for backup astronauts are also likely

In addition to the five astronauts presented by ESA as career astronauts, eleven astronauts have also been selected for the reserve, including Germans Amelie Schoenenwald and Nikola Winter. You could also go to space for them. Matthias Maurer, for example, was in the top ten his senior year, but at first he was not a finalist, and then he was nominated as an astronaut years later.

Part of the astronaut reserve will also be Briton John McFaul, who was chosen to the newly created position of an astronaut with a physical disability. McFall became part of a project to discover how to break down barriers in space travel. Josef Achbacher, head of the European Space Agency, said that they are ready to open up space for everyone. You need special studies and maybe adjustments in space or on the way there.

Increase the budget of the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency began searching for new astronauts last March. A total of more than 22,000 applications were received, about 3,700 of them from Germany, 670 from Switzerland and 470 from Austria.

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At the Paris meeting, the 22 member states also decided to significantly increase the European Space Agency’s three-year budget of €16.9 billion. This represents an increase of 17 percent compared to the previous budget. (dpa)

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