The ESA (European Space Agency) recently had a recruitment drive and received more than 22,000 people applying a new record — almost three times as many applicants as in the previous astronaut recruitment drive in 2008.
ESA’s human recruitment specialists are now processing the applications around 1,500 candidates will be invited for the next stage which will be a psychological assessment.
ESA said previously they are looking to recruit four to six staff astronauts but also a reserve list of around 20 astronauts, it is thought that the reserves will stay at their current jobs but would be given a chance to fly to space if an opportunity arises.
ESA is also recruiting one astronaut with disabilities in an experiment that will look to prove that such people can fully participate in space missions.
“We want the astronaut with a disability to do a real job,” David Parker, ESA’s director of human and robotic exploration, said during the briefing. “It’s not about being a space tourist. The astronauts are doing science and technology aboard the space station. What we want to establish is the feasibility for an astronaut with a disability to also undertake meaningful science.”
“It is quite a lengthy process,” Antonella Costa, a human resources business partner at ESA, said in the briefing. “We know this, but it is a very exciting journey that we are doing together. It is important to remind that candidates will be notified at the end of each stage if their application has been successful in progressing to the next step.”