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ESA Presents New Generation of European Astronauts

ESA Our Bureau - : Nov 24, 2022 - : 8:23 pm

The European Space Agency (ESA) presented 17 new astronaut candidates from more than 22,500 applicants from across its member states at the Grand Palais Éphémère in Paris, France on Wednesday (Nov. 23). They are the agency’s first new recruits in 13 years consisting of five career astronauts, 11 members of astronaut reserve, and one astronaut with a disability.

“Today we welcome the 17 members of the new ESA astronaut class 2022. This ESA astronaut class is bringing ambition, talent, and diversity in many different forms – to drive our endeavours, and our future,” said ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher at the event. “The continuous exploration in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station, going forward to the Moon – and beyond.”

“This is an extraordinary time for human spaceflight and for Europe. After the successful launch of Artemis I with ESA’s European Service Module powering Orion to the Moon, we are on the forefront of human space exploration,” said David Parker, ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration. “We are delighted to have this group of extremely talented people, to continue European science and operations on the International Space Station and beyond,” he added.

Sorted alphabetically by their nationality, the ESA astronaut candidates are:

Austria: Carmen Possnig.
Belgium: Raphaël Liégeois.
Czech Republic: Aleš Svoboda.
France: Sophie Adenot, and Arnaud Prost.
Germany: Amelie Schoenenwald, and Nicola Winter.
Italy: Anthea Comellini, and Andrea Patassa.
Poland: Sławosz Uznański.
Spain: Pablo Álvarez Fernández, and Sara García Alonso.
Sweden: Marcus Wandt.
Switzerland: Marco Sieber.
UK: Meganne Christian, Rosemary Coogan, and John McFall.

Raphaël Liégeois from Belgium, Sophie Adenot from France, Pablo Álvarez Fernández from Spain, Marco Sieber from Switzerland, and Rosemary Coogan from UK are five career astrounauts at ESA. John McFall from the UK is a Parastronaut Feasibility Study Member to develop options for the inclusion of astronauts with physical disabilities in human spaceflight and possible future missions.

The 11 others who are not part of ESA’s career astronauts and part of the feasibility study will form ESA’s first reserve pool of astronauts once their training ends. They will remain with their current employers and will receive a consultancy contract and basic support. They will start basic training in case a flight opportunity has been identified.

These astronaut candidates will undergo training at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany to the highest level of standards as specified by the International Space Station partners. After the completion of this 12-month course, the new astronauts will be ready to enter the next Space Station training phase, and, once assigned to a mission, their training will be tailored to specific mission tasks.

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