In brief

Applicants to ESA’s astronaut selection are being thanked for their patience as thousands of acceptance or rejection notifications are distributed to candidates across Europe.


Head of Space Medicine at ESA, Guillaume Weerts, says he and his team have been very conscious of the need to give every application the attention it deserves as ESA seeks its first new astronauts in over 10 years. With more than 23 000 applications to evaluate, this is a process that takes time.

“We announced that we would have all invitations for the first phase of testing, or the refusal letters and thank you letters, sent by the end of November. Though we came very close to meeting this goal, there are still some applicants who have not heard from us,” he explains.

“If you are in this category, please be assured you have not been forgotten. You should expect an answer – either positive or negative – by the end of 2021.”

The next step for successful candidates is an invitation to a full day of testing at a facility in Europe. This process is already underway, with applicants invited progressively due to the work involved in this process and the need to consider Covid-19-related regulations and travel restrictions.

The first round of testing focuses on psychological performance, this will be followed by a set of psychological interviews and group tests before medical testing. Candidates who continue to be successful through each of these stages will be invited to recruitment interviews, with the final announcement of ESA’s new class of astronauts and reserve astronauts expected by the end of next year. 

  • ESA Human Resources Business Partner Antonella Costa says ESA would like to thank everyone who put themselves forward to be considered for the 2021-22 astronaut selection.

“We really want to thank all the candidates, both those continuing in the application process and those who will leave us at this stage,” she says. “It is a very competitive process with so many highly qualified people competing for a small number of positions. Even just meeting the initial criteria to apply is something be proud of.

“Not everyone can be successful in becoming an ESA astronaut, but there are many other ways in which you can support Europe in space,” she adds.

ESA is recruiting for a number of different roles right now and even more will be advertised in the future that would benefit from the skills and expertise that many of our astronaut applicants bring to the table. So please, take a look at the ESA jobs website to see how else you could be involved and continue your journey with ESA.”

For more information about ESA’s astronaut selection, visit the Your Way To Space page on ESA’s website and follow ESA on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates on all ESA activities.

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