Skip to Content

307 Finns apply for spot as astronaut

Publication date 29.6.2021 15.53 | Published in English on 18.8.2021 at 15.43
News item

307 Finns submit applications for the position of astronaut in the European Space Agency’s selection process this year. Of the Finnish applicants, 59 were women and 248 were men. A total of 22,000 people submitted applications. It was also the first time that physically disabled persons were able to apply for and later be selected as an astronaut.

The ESA selection process for astronauts consists of six key phases from closing the open search on 18 June 2021 to the global announcement on the selected astronauts at the end of 2022.

The first of these phases is screening. During this phase, applications will be evaluated on the basis of all documents submitted, the application form and a screening survey completed as part of the application process. Applications for parastronauts (with physical disability) will also be subject to medical screening. At the end of each phase, applicants will be informed whether they will proceed to the next phase. 

Search for astronauts for long and short missions

In the future, ESA astronauts will be divided into two astronaut categories, career astro-nauts and project astronauts.

Career astronauts will be hired as permanent ESA staff and will take part in long flights to the international space station and future flights to the moon. The aim is to hire 4-6 career astronauts. The selection of a Finn as a career astronaut is unlikely, as Finland does not participate in the funding programme currently required.

Applicants who are successful in the application process but not selected as career astronauts can be selected as project astronauts in the Astronaut Reserve. Project astronauts go through the same selection process as career astronauts and are considered equally qualified for space flights, but they will only hired by the ESA for a specific flight, for ex-ample a mission at the initiative of a Member State. Project astronauts commit to annual training and medical examinations in order to maintain their position in the Astronaut Reserve. The aim of ESA is to gather as diverse a representation as possible from different member states, consisting of approximately 20 people.   

The application period for the position of astronaut ended on 18 June 2021. Finland has been a member of the European Space Agency since 1995.

Chief Specialist Maija Lönnqvist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7105, [email protected]
Tuija Ypyä, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 5062 115, [email protected] or spacefinland@tem.