• Taking advantage of its ministerial conference at the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris, the European Space Agency (ESA) unveiled its new promotion of astronauts on Wednesday, which joins the pool of seven already present, including Thomas Pesquet.

  • Proof that the job is the dream of more than one, 22,589 Europeans had sent their CV to ESA in the spring of 2021, including 7,137 French, who formed by far the largest contingent of candidates.

  • More than a year and a half later and an obstacle course in six stages, we therefore know the lucky ones.

How many are they ?

Four, five or six?

How many men, how many women?

And above all, will there be one or even French people?

So many questions that agitated the Grand Palais Ephémère, in Paris, this Wednesday.

The European Space Agency (ESA) took over the premises the day before, to hold its ministerial conference there.

Main challenge: to agree the 22 Member States of ESA on the budget for the next three years and the space programs to be financed over this same period.

But the long-awaited climax of the conference on Wednesday afternoon was much more the announcement of the European Space Agency's new cohort of astronauts.

In other words, the lucky ones who will join the pool of seven active European astronauts, including the Frenchman Thomas Pesquet.

With a delay on the scheduled time, the curtain on this new promise rose at 3:40 p.m. sharp.

First surprise, they are seventeen to appear on stage.

Eight in the class of career astronauts, under contract with ESA from the outset.

The rest make up the pool of reservists, who will remain employed by their current employers but can be mobilized quickly by the European space agency. 

Among the career astronauts is a Frenchwoman: Sophie Adenot, helicopter test pilot.

22,589 candidates in spring 2021

As a reminder, there were 22,589 Europeans who tried their luck in the spring of 2021, by sending their CV to ESA.

Including 7,137 French, by far the largest contingent of candidates.

A first skimming, based on the documents and questionnaires submitted by the candidates when submitting the CVs, had already made it possible to reduce the number of applicants to 1,500 in October 2021. Five other stages of selection followed, from psycho-cognitive tests to ultimate interview in the office of ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher last month.

Five candidates therefore emerged from this obstacle course.

» More information to come


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  • Science

  • Space

  • Astronaut

  • Thomas Pésquet

  • ESA