European Space Agency hires astronauts for first time in 11 years


Applications are open on March 31 and women are encouraged to apply as the agency seeks “to expand gender diversity in our ranks,” according to an ESA statement released on Monday.

“To go further than ever, we must look further than ever,” ESA Director General Jan Wörner said in the statement.

“This recruitment process is the first step and I look forward to seeing the agency grow in all areas of space exploration and innovation, with our international partners, in the years to come.”

The agency is keen to receive applications from all parts of society, according to David Parker, director of human and robotic exploration at ESA.

“Diversity at ESA should not only take into account the origin, age, background or gender of our astronauts, but also perhaps physical disabilities,” Parker said in the statement. “To make this dream come true, along with recruiting astronauts, I am launching the Parastronaut Feasibility Project, an innovation whose time has come.”

The application period will run from March 31 to May 28 on the ESA Career website. Applicants will then go through a six-step selection process that is expected to end in October 2022, the statement said.

Applicants must be nationals of an ESA member state, between 153 and 190 centimeters (five feet to six feet three inches) tall and speak and read English, according to the ESA website.

The agency requires a university degree, or equivalent, in the natural sciences, engineering or medicine, and prefers applicants with at least three years of professional experience in a related field.

Applicants must be in good physical health and will preferably be between the ages of 27 and 37, according to the website.

In October, ESA signed a collaboration agreement with NASA to facilitate sustainable exploration of the Moon.

The two agencies will work together on the Artemis Gateway lunar outpost, which will serve as a middle station serving astronauts traveling from Earth before they reach the moon’s surface.

CNN’s Ashley Strickland contributed to this report.

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