European Astronaut Corps


The European Astronaut Corps is a unit of the
European Space Agency , owner = , headquarters = Paris, Île-de-France, France , coordinates = , spaceport = Guiana Space Centre , seal = File:ESA emblem seal.png , seal_size = 130px , image = ESA Headquarters in Paris, France, 2 ...

European Space Agency
(ESA) that selects, trains, and provides
astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, equipped, and deployed by a List of human spaceflight programs, human spaceflight program to serve as a ...

s as crew members on U.S. and Russian space missions. The corps has 13 active members, able to serve on the
International Space Station The International Space Station (ISS) is a (habitable ) in . It is a multinational collaborative project involving five participating space agencies: (United States), (Russia), (Japan), (Europe), and (Canada). The ownership and use of t ...

International Space Station
(ISS). The European Astronaut Corps is based at the
European Astronaut Centre The European Astronaut Centre (EAC) (German: Europäisches Astronautenzentrum, French: Centre des astronautes européens), is an establishment of the European Space Agency and home of the European Astronaut Corps. It is near to Cologne, Germany, a ...
in Cologne, Germany. They can be assigned to various projects both in Europe (at
ESTEC The European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) is the European Space Agency , german: Europäische Weltraumorganisation , et, Euroopa Kosmoseagentuur , french: Agence spatiale européenne , fi, Euroopan avaruusjärjestö ...

, for instance) or elsewhere in the world, at
NASA Johnson Space Center The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) is NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, U. ...
or Star City.

Current members

There are seven active members of the European Astronaut Corps. All of the current members of the corps have flown to space. All flown members have visited the ISS. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet is the member of the corps who has accumulated the most time in space with 396 days 11 hours and 34 minutes. He is the record holder for all the European astronauts in history. The corps currently includes one woman,
Samantha Cristoforetti Captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police department, election precinct, etc. The captain is a military ...
, who formerly held the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman. Only two other women have been members of the corps. Marianne Merchez who never flew, and Claudie Haigneré who resigned after two missions to start a political career in France.

2009 Group

On 3 April 2008, ESA director general Jean-Jacques Dordain announced that recruiting for a new class of European astronauts will start in the near future. The selection program for 4 new astronauts was launched on 19 May 2008 with applications due by 16 June 2008 so that final selection would be due spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates as of 18 June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. From these 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing which led to 192 candidates on 24 September 2008. After two stage psychological tests 80 candidates continued on to medical evaluation in January–February 2009. 40 or so candidates head to formal interviews to select four new members to European Astronaut Corps.

2022 Group

A new recruitment round, for the 2022 European Space Agency Astronaut Group, 2022 ESA Astronaut Group, is currently underway. Between 4-6 new ESA astronaut candidates are expected to be announced in October 2022, as well as for the first time a "reserve pool" of astronaut candidates and also a person with a physical disability through the "parastronaut feasibility project". The funding by NASA and Russia of the
International Space Station The International Space Station (ISS) is a (habitable ) in . It is a multinational collaborative project involving five participating space agencies: (United States), (Russia), (Japan), (Europe), and (Canada). The ownership and use of t ...

International Space Station
is currently planned to end in 2030. Thanks to their involvement with NASA's Orion programme, ESA will receive three flight opportunities for European astronauts to the Lunar Gateway.Positive signs for Europe as ESA goes forward to the Moon

Former members

There are 18 former members of the ESA astronaut corps. Some ESA astronauts were selected by other European agencies and then enrolled into the European Astronaut Corps in 1998.

European astronauts outside of ESA


Ten Europeans became astronauts within the Soviet Union's Interkosmos program, which allowed citizens of allied nations to fly missions to the Salyut 6, Salyut 7 and Mir space station. * Aleksandr Panayotov Aleksandrov * Jean-Loup Chrétien * Bertalan Farkas * Mirosław Hermaszewski * Georgi Ivanov (cosmonaut), Georgi Ivanov * Sigmund Jähn * Dumitru Prunariu * Vladimír Remek * Helen Sharman * Franz Viehböck

Space Shuttle

NASA trained and flew astronauts from allied nations on the Space Shuttle, especially as payload specialists for scientific missions such as Spacelab. Prior to the foundation of the ESA astronaut corps, both the French CNES and the German German Aerospace Center, DLR had selected their own rosters of astronauts, notably in preparation for the introduction of the ISS. The following people flew on various Shuttle missions. * Patrick Baudry * Jean-Jacques Favier * Dirk Frimout * Reinhard Furrer * Leonid Kadeniuk * Franco Malerba * Ulrich Walter


The following people flew on missions to Mir under agreements between their nations and Russia. * Ivan Bella * Klaus-Dietrich Flade

Space Shuttle missions

Astronauts from the European Astronaut Corps participated in several NASA Space Shuttle missions before the ISS era, in particular as Spacelab Payload Specialists. NASA considered the full-time ESA astronauts as payload specialists, but offered some the opportunity to train with its own astronauts and become NASA mission specialists. ''(This list excludes missions to Mir or the ISS)''

As Payload Specialists

* Ulf Merbold – STS-9 (Spacelab), STS-42 (Spacelab) * Reinhard Furrer – STS-61-A (Spacelab-D1 Mission) * Wubbo Ockels – STS-61-A (Spacelab-D1 Mission) * Hans Schlegel – STS-55 (Spacelab-D2 Mission) * Ulrich Walter – STS-55 (Spacelab-D2 Mission)

As Mission Specialists

* Claude Nicollier – STS-46, STS-61 (Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble), STS-75, STS-103 (Hubble) * Maurizio Cheli – STS-75 * Jean-François Clervoy – STS-66, STS-103 (Hubble) * Gerhard Thiele – STS-99 * Pedro Duque – STS-95

Missions to the Mir space stations

Astronauts from Europe have flown to Mir both on board Soyuz (spacecraft), Soyuz vehicles (as part of the Euromir programme) or on board the Space Shuttle. * Jean-Loup Chrétien – ''Mir Aragatz, Aragatz'' (1988) * Helen Sharman – Project Juno (1991) * Franz Viehböck – Soyuz TM-13, Austromir '91 (1991) * Klaus-Dietrich Flade – Soyuz TM-14, ''Mir'' '92 (1992) * Michel Tognini – ''Soyuz TM-15, Antarès'' (1992) * Jean-Pierre Haigneré – ''Soyuz TM-17, Altair'' (1993) * Ulf Merbold – Soyuz TM-20, Euromir '94 (1994) * Thomas Reiter – Soyuz TM-22, Euromir '95 (1995) * Claudie Haigneré – ''Soyuz TM-24, Cassiopée'' (1996) * Reinhold Ewald – Soyuz TM-25, ''Mir'' '97 (1997) * Jean-Loup Chrétien – STS-86 (1997) * Léopold Eyharts – ''Soyuz TM-27, Pégase'' (1998) * Jean-Pierre Haigneré – ''Soyuz TM-29, Perseus'' (1999) * Ivan Bella – ''Soyuz TM-29, Stefanik'' (1999)

Missions to the International Space Station

European astronauts to have visited the International Space Station, ISS are:

See also

*Canadian Astronaut Corps *JAXA Astronaut Corps *NASA Astronaut Corps *List of astronauts by selection *Human spaceflight *History of spaceflight *European contribution to the International Space Station


External links

The European Astronaut Corps
{{European manned spaceflight European Space Agency Lists of astronauts European astronauts Human spaceflight programs