ESA presents new astronaut group
The European Space Agency today presented the six individuals who will become Europe's new astronauts. The new recruits will join the European Astronaut Corps and start their training to prepare for future missions to the International Space Station, and beyond.
The new astronauts are: Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian; Alexander Gerst, German; Andreas Mogensen, Danish; Luca Parmitano, Italian; Timothy Peake, British; Thomas Pesquet, French. They were selected following a Europe-wide recruitment process that started last year. Following thorough psychological, medical and professional screening that started with 8413 valid applications, they are the first new recruits to join the European Astronaut Corps since 1992 under this second-ever astronaut selection carried out by ESA.
The choice of six was made taking into account flight opportunities planned not only under ESA programmes and activities but also those planned in the frame of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA. This was done in agreement with the Italian authorities and in accordance with the ESA Council decision in 2002 to create a single corps of astronauts in Europe.
Europe's new astronauts will start their basic training at the European Astronaut Centre (ESA-EAC) in Cologne, Germany. With ESA's ISS partners also having completed or currently finalising their own recruitment campaigns, they will also join a new class of international astronauts who will be prepared for future space missions to the International Space Station from 2013 onwards.