More than 22,000 filed applications to become astronauts at ESA. How many were from Romania?

The European Space Agency announced that initial figures show that more than 22,000 people have applied for vacancy announcements for ESA astronauts. Of these, over 5,000 are women. Most applications came from France and Germany, over 10,000 in total, and the fewest, from Estonia, 57.

The numbers were released today, 23 June 2021, during an ESA media event. This year’s campaign saw 2,5 times more applicants in comparison with the previous recruitment campaign that finished in 2009, respectively 4 times more female applicants.

255 applications were submitted from Romania (199 men and 56 women).

For this recruiting campaign, ESA also decided to accept a number of applicants with a certain degree of physical disability. Ten Romanians, namely eight men and two women, applied for the vacancy for  this category.

There are six stages and the chosen ones will be announced at the end of 2022.

During this recruitment stage, more than 200 people applied for the newly established vacancy of astronaut (with a physical disability), and about 5,400, ie 24% of all astronaut candidates identified as women – in 2008, this percentage was 15.5%. The ESA astronaut selection process consists of six key steps, from the closure of vacancy announcements on 18 June 2021 to the global announcement of selected astronauts at the end of 2022.

 Most applications came from

France: 7,137
Germany: 3,700
UK: 1,979
Italy: 1.860
Spain: 1,344

Total application filed: 22,589

The first of these steps is selection. At this stage, applications will be evaluated on the basis of all documents submitted, the application form and the selection questionnaire completed as part of the application process. Applications for the position of astronaut (with a physical disability) will also be subject to medical selection.

The selection for astronauts in 2021 marks the first time ESA has announced a vacancy for an astronaut with a physical disability. The collaboration of the successful candidate is anticipated to determine, together with ESA, the necessary changes for such an astronaut to be able to work as a professional crew member in a future mission in space. Applications were received from all Member States and Associated Member States. These include Lithuania, whose citizens have become eligible for selection due to the country’s new status as an ESA Associate Member.

During the last selection of ESA astronaut applications in 2008, the number of candidates who had a medical certificate and completed the online application form was 8,413.

The stages that the candidates will go through are:

  • Screening: several screening rounds will be conducted on the basis of all documents submitted with the application form as well as the screening questionnaire completed as part of the application. In addition, applications for the selection of candidates with physical disabilities will undergo a medical screening on the basis of the eligible impairments.
  • Test Phase 1: cognitive, technical, motor coordination and personality testing.
  • Test Phase 2: psychometric testing, group and individual exercises and practical tests.
  • Test Phase 3: applicants’ physical and mental abilities are measured against international medical standards for spaceflight missions.
  • Interview Round 1: panel interview in which applicants are tested on technical and behavioural competencies (educational qualifications are verified and criminal record checks are carried out).
  • Interview Round 2: final stage of the selection process. Applicants who make it through to this stage can expect an interview with the ESA Director General, after which a final decision will be made.

In a press release today, the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) wishes good luck to all the Romanian candidates.

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