More than 23,000 applications from aspiring astronauts have been whittled to just 1,391 people who might be able to fly to the moon and space by European Space Agency. 

ESA are looking for six space tourists to travel with them on their next trip.

While the agency does not know the exact location of shortlisted candidates in Europe, the majority (1900) of the 23,000 people who applied for the job were from the UK.

While the UK Space Agency has confirmed that British candidates are on the shortlist, they could not say whether or how many made it through the next stage.

According to ESA, 39% of the next-round candidates were women and 61% were men. 29 “parastronauts” out 287 shortlisted for consideration. 

ESA issued a call for applicants in March 2021. ESA claims that it was slower than anticipated to narrow it due to “a high volume of and calibre of applications”.  

According to the space agency, the final announcements on six astronauts who are full-time, as well as any “parastronauts” and 20 reservists, will be made in the fall.

The European Space Agency has whittled down more than 23,000 aspiring astronaut applications to a shortlist of 1,391 who could potentially fly to space and the moon

European Space Agency (ESA) has narrowed down over 23,000 applicants to a list of 1,391 potential astronauts who can fly to space or the moon. 

If one of the British candidates is successful they will be the third British astronaut after Helen Sharman and Tim Peake - who was the first British ESA-astronaut

If they succeed, one of the British candidates will become the third astronaut from Britain after Tim Peake and Helen Sharman. Peake was also the first British ESA-astronaut.

ESA astronaut criteria  

A person must be at least 18 years old to apply for the right to file a petition. 

  • You must have a Master’s Degree (or better) in Natural Sciences or Medicine, Engineering, Mathematics, or Computer Sciences 
  • OR to be certified as an experimental pilot
  • Be fluent in English
  • Be able to speak a second language fluently 
  • Remain calm and open to participating in science experiments
  • Flexible in your choice of workplace

1.391 of the candidates have passed the initial round. The tests focus on their psychological performance. These include cognitive, technical and personality assessments. They are conducted over the course a whole day.

For successful candidates, this will be followed by a set of psychological interviews and group tests — after which medical testing will begin.

Candidats who pass all stages of selection will be invited for interviews with ESA senior officials. 

ESA has six professional astronauts on full-time duty. ESA also needs 20 reserveists. These people may work in universities and be ready to travel to space when called upon. 

Females made up around 24 percent of the astronaut applicants for ESA’s selection, but they were only 39 percent of those who reached the next round. 

ESA stated that astronauts selected by ESA for the next phase of the selection process were determined solely on their applications and not their gender. 

Guillaume Weerts (head of space medicine) thanked 23,000 applicants for applying to become astronauts.

“We want to express our deep gratitude to everyone who submitted to the selection process. 

“Thank you so much for your patience, and the hard work that you did to submit your applications. It was a pleasure to see the high quality applicants.

Antonella Costa, ESA HR Business Partner, agreed that it was very competitive and something to be proud about just for meeting the requirements to apply. 

To be eligible for this role, the candidate must either have a qualification as an experimental pilot or a master’s in Natural Sciences or Medicine or Engineering or Mathematics.  

ESA is on the lookout for a new cohort of six space travellers, who will spend time on the International Space Station, and may one day land on the surface of the moon

ESA are looking for six space tourists to travel with them. These will visit the International Space Station and might one day land on Mars. 


European Space Agency seeks a parastronaut who could fly to the ISS in future.

ESA partners with the selected person to join their reserve crew and find safe ways to travel. 

Eligible are those with missing or damaged feet, or their lower legs due to amputation, or people shorter than 130cm (4ft 3in) 

Tim Peake stated that he would not have reservations about traveling to space together with someone with disability.

Samantha Cristoforetti from ESA said we “didn’t develop to be out there”

We’re all disabled in space, she said. Now it’s just about perfecting the technology that will allow candidates to join us as astronauts. 

Costa said that, despite not being able to become an astronaut for every person, there are still many ways you can help Europe go into space.

“We encourage everyone to go to our careers site and find out how they can use their talents and pursue their passions with ESA.” 

The deadline for applications to be an astronaut was June 18, 2021. This is up from the 8,413 applicants in 2008. 

If one of the British candidates is successful they will be the third British astronaut after Helen Sharman and Tim Peake — who was the first British ESA-astronaut. 

Peake will likely return to the ISS within the next few years. The successful candidates may also be sent to that station simultaneously.  

ESA’s astronaut selection process consists of six key stages, the first of which we’ve just entered — screening thousands of candidates to under 2,000.

Each stage will notify candidates if they have been accepted for the next step.  

ESA has obtained three astronaut travels to NASA Lunar Gateway, which will be orbiting around the moon. The agency hopes that it can send Europeans there in the near future. 

Frank DeWinne of the ESA astronaut training facility said that astronauts would fly farther away than any human being has done before they visit the Gateway. The Gateway will be closer to Earth than the Moon.

ESA says the number of applicants far exceeded even its most optimistic forecasts, describing it as a positive indication of the level of interest in space activities

ESA said that applicants far outnumbered its optimistic predictions, and they consider it a positive indicator of public interest in space activities. 

France had the highest number of applications, at 7,137 and a quarter of all applicants were women, up from 15 per cent during the last round in 2008. The brighter the colour in this graphic the more applications from that country

France was the country with the largest number of applications (7,137), and 25% more applicants were females than the 15% who applied in the previous round. You will receive more applications from a country the brighter this graphic is.

“The astronauts will fly to the ISS in the first five to ten year. But, after that, there will be chances to fly further to the moon.

This ESA crew, which is similar to the Artemis generation NASA astronauts could someday stand on Mars’ surface.

NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars as soon as 2035. The European Space Agency may also be involved in that effort. 

According to a spokesperson of the UK Space Agency, they believe that the next British professional astronaut will be born from “this tough selection process”.  

“They will now have to undergo a difficult psychological evaluation before moving on to the next stage of their medical testing.

“The UK space industry is growing fast. While being an astronaut might be the ultimate dream, there are many career opportunities.