Almost 300 people from Greece applied to become astronauts
Many young people are looking for work outside Greece, even in space.
A total of 280 Greeks applied for astronaut positions advertised by the European Space Agency (ESA), out of 25,589 applications submitted by all Member States.
The total number of applications shows a dramatic increase of two and a half times compared to ESA’s previous announcement in 2008.
There is also a significant increase in applications from women, the percentage of which rose from 15.5% in 2008 to 20% this year.
“My first reaction is: ‘Superb’,” said Josef Aschbacher, managing director of the agency. “It’s probably historic – having so many applicants, for at the end of the day, a handful of jobs.”
“I think it really shows that the competition is high, but I really wish every candidate the best of luck,” he added.
With this announcement, ESA for the first time created an astronaut position for people with physical disabilities, for which a total of 200 applications were submitted.
ESA will offer contracts for four to six people for full-time astronaut positions, and up to 20 more people will join a reserve team.
“It’s a long process, but it’s probably one of the most exciting jobs anyone can think of, and I’m so happy to have seen these numbers.
“I think it also shows that space is a priority for young people, it’s a dream job – to be an astronaut – and it’s the best proof of what we’ve seen.
“So yeah, it’s fascinating to see these numbers.”
ESA Director of Human and Robotics Exploration David Parker said:
“It’s nice to see an increase in the gender distribution among the candidates for this selection of astronauts, but the numbers also show that there is still a long way to go to achieve gender balance in the space industry.
“Representing all parts of our company is a concern we take very seriously.
“I look forward to seeing which of these candidates join our existing Astronaut Corps and contribute to that representation both on Earth and in space. “
ESA is still using its existing pool of astronauts for missions, and British astronaut Major Tim Peake is expected to make his second flight around 2024/2025.
The winners are expected to be announced at the end of 2022.
ESA does not have the capacity to launch astronauts on its own, but European astronauts often travel to the International Space Station.
READ MORE: Athens from the International Space Station.