European Space Agency adds 5 new astronauts, only 4th class since 1978; more than 20,000 people apply

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — In the past year, five people have Academically superior men and women Spun in a centrifuge, submerged underwater for hours, temporarily deprived of oxygen, taught to camp in the snow, taught physiology, anatomy, astronomy, meteorology, robotics, Russian have received the education of

On Monday, five European players and one Australian player graduated from basic training with new titles. astronaut.

At a ceremony in Cologne, Germany, ESA added five new members to the corps of astronauts eligible for missions to the International Space Station, bringing the total to 11.

ESA is negotiating with NASA for three slots on future Artemis moon missions, but the ESA director-general said those slots would likely be given to more senior astronauts. Joseph Aschbacher. The agency also supplies the service module for the Orion crew capsule. ESA relies on NASA and others to get astronauts into space.

This is only the fourth astronaut class since 1978 for the agency from 22 countries, chosen from a pool of 22,500 applicants. The remaining 12 were selected as reservists but were not sent to basic training. Unsurprisingly, their resumes include advanced scientific and medical degrees, military training, experience flying airplanes, helicopters, gliders, and balloons, boating, scuba diving, hiking, skydiving, cycling, Interspersed with experiences are “leisure” activities such as sailing and kayaking.

Aschbacher said the group formed a “very good team” with no personal rivalries. “I told them one person will fly first and one person will fly last. And they accepted it, of course, but they accepted it with their heart, not with lip service.” …Team Spirit is very noticeable. ”

French Air Force helicopter test pilot Sophie Adeno said the group was “a great crew, a great team.” Her most impactful moment was when she stepped out of the airlock for a simulated underwater spacewalk and her instructor said, “Welcome to space.” . ”

“And for me it was shocking and gave me goosebumps. … In a few years, instead of being in the water with safety divers, I’ll be in space.”

When she was a young girl dreaming of space travel, “there were countless people who told her that this dream would never come true. You have an unrealistic dream, but it will never come true.” …Listen to yourself and don’t listen to people who don’t believe in you.”

In addition to Adenot, the ESA class consists of:

—Pablo Álvarez Fernández, Spanish aeronautical engineer who worked on the Rosalind Franklin Mars rover for a joint mission with Russia, which was halted after the invasion of Ukraine.

— Rosemary Coogan, British astronomer who studies radiation emissions from black holes.

— Raphaël Liégeois is a Belgian biomedical engineer and neuroscientist who studies degenerative diseases of the nervous system and flies hot air balloons and gliders.

—Marco Alan Seaver, a Swiss emergency physician who earned the rank of sergeant as a paratrooper while serving in the Swiss Army.

The group also included Catherine Bennell-Pegg from Australia, who received training under a cooperation agreement between Australia and ESA. She remains an employee of the Australian Space Agency. It’s up to the Australian agency to find a way for her to travel through space.

Their year-long basic training included preparation for the harsh environments they would encounter in space. They were exposed to several times the force of gravity in a centrifuge and spent hours underwater floating around a mock-up of a space station module using scuba gear to simulate working in zero gravity. .

They learned how to recognize the symptoms of hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, by experiencing themselves in a hypobaric chamber. Survival training included dealing with potential splash at sea and staying warm during the winter while waiting to recover in case the landing went off course. In addition to this, there was also academic research on scientific topics and learning about the space station’s modules and equipment.

Although ESA has suspended cooperation with Russia, except for the space station, where Russian is one of the working languages, intensive Russian is still part of the program.

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