European Space Agency seeks new astronauts

European Space Agency seeks new astronauts
16/2/2021Press releases

The European Space Agency (ESA) is seeking new astronauts. Candidates from all Member States, including the Czech Republic, can apply. In the next few years, ESA plans to launch hundreds of other careers within generational change. This opens new doors for the Czech applicants to join a prestigious sector with high added value.

European Space Agency seeks new astronauts

The call is open to citizens of all 22 ESA Member States, including the Czech Republic, and 2 associate states (Slovenia and Lithuania). Other requirements include having a Master’s degree in a relevant field, at least three years of relevant professional experience after graduation and be fluent in English (level C1). Applicants must also submit a medical certificate that shows they are medically qualified for a private pilot licence (the applicant does not have to be a pilot). The application period will run from 31 March 2021 until 28 May 2021. More information are available at ESA website.

Applicants shall expect a huge competition, since the astronaut team will not be large. ESA has already stated that the reason is to avoid a long pre-flight time for crewmembers and a loss of the best years of their lives. They expect to select approx. 4 permanent crewmembers (so-called career astronauts) and ca. 20 substitutes. However, in the previous calls, ESA received thousands of applications.

Career astronauts will fly to the space regardless the amount of Member State’s contributions or the industry and scientific community reputation. A substitute candidate on the other hand will hold a specific status of an unselected finalist, who will receive a very limited training (ca. 2 weeks), keep their medical certificate in effect and be available as a substitute for career astronauts in case someone left the crew. They can also be selected to become part of the crew if there is a need for other astronauts due to a higher number of flying opportunities. They can be also selected for specific missions, especially national missions, which are paid entirely by the Member or associate State. After the end of such mission, the candidate will return to substitutes.

ESA is not seeking only astronauts. Since many agency’s employees are retiring, ESA is setting an ambitious goal; in the next 10 years, it plans to recruit 100 new employees each year. Therefore, hundreds of calls for engineers, scientists, administrative personnel and other related careers will be announced on a regular basis. Since ESA prefers proportional representation of nationalities even among its employees, new doors open also to the Czech candidates.

However, this is not all for Czech workers. Previously, we have informed  that from 2021 a new European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) will be based in Prague. This means new opportunities for Czech companies and scientists. The Czech Republic has a unique opportunity to shape itself in development of technologies and applications with a high added value. The new agency will replace the current GSA agency and will manage a significantly wider range of activities. The Czech candidates can consequently expect an increased amount of job opportunities in this prestigious field.

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