Tim Peake reveals how to become an astronaut
How to become an astronaut: Tim Peake reveals ‘personality and character’ are more important for hopefuls than STEM skills as European Space Agency calls for new recruits
- European Space Agency has opened astronaut pool for first time in over decade
- Scientists and engineers from across Europe and the UK can apply for the role
- Tim, 48, was first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station
- Army Air Corps officer told candidates need masters and postgraduate degree
Astronaut Tim Peake has revealed what steps to take if you’re keen to embark on a career in space, including preparing for a ‘gruelling’ year and a half selection process.
For the first time in 11 years, the European Space Agency (ESA) has put the call out for new astronaut candidates, who will work alongside their existing astronauts as Europe enters a new era of space exploration.
The former Army Air Corps officer, 48, from Hampshire, appeared on Good Morning Britain today, where he explained the skills and qualifications the ESA are looking for in their new recruits.
He told that a history studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is essential, and that applicants are largely selected based on their ‘personality and character’, assessing skills such as ‘team work and communication’.
British astronaut Tim Peake is involved in a recruitment drive for new astronauts to join the European Space Agency cohort and gave advice on what it takes to join the program
The European Space Agency is on the hunt for new astronauts to work alongside their existing astronauts as Europe enters a new era of space exploration
‘The selection process is pretty gruelling it’s gonna take about a year and a half to go through,’ said Tim.
‘Firstly ESA are going to look at your non-trainable skills, things like concentration and spatial awareness and memory retention and there’s a number of tests they can do
‘But then the bulk of the selection process is really about personality and character, your soft skills, team work, communication, how well you get on with other people, can you spend six months in a confined space under stressful conditions?’
Aspiring astronauts will undergo three years of training before their first mission, including learning how to fly a space craft, how to how to do a space walk, and learning what weightlessness feels like.
The former Army Air Corps officer, 48, from Hampshire, appeared on Good Morning Britain today, where he explained the skills and qualifications the ESA are looking for in their new recruits
Tim was the first British European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut to visit the International Space Station, launching on a Soyuz rocket on 15 December 2015
‘It’s an incredibly exciting journey,’ said Tim. ‘But you do have to be prepared for a marathon worth of training.’
Tim was the first British European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut to visit the International Space Station, launching on a Soyuz rocket on 15 December 2015 with crewmates Tim Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko.
He spent six months in space, and in his first month, Tim conducted a spacewalk to repair the Station’s power supply.
The ESA are strongly encouraging women to apply for a place on the new team, as it seeks to expand gender diversity in its ranks, and Tim encouraged those with the correct qualifications to ‘give it a shot’.
ESA’s recruitment drive for greater diversity
The European Space Agency (ESA) is on the hunt for new astronauts, and are ‘strongly encouraging’ women to apply.
ESA director general Jan Wörner, said: ‘Thanks to a strong mandate from ESA member states at Space19+, our Ministerial Council in 2019, Europe is taking its place at the heart of space exploration.’
‘To go farther than we ever have before, we need to look wider than we ever have before,’ he added.
As well as seeking to improve diversity within its ranks by encouraging more female astronaut candidates, Wörner says it is also examining how to get more people with disabilities into space – or at least involved in space travel.
David Parker, ESA director of human and robotic exploration, said: ‘Representing all parts of our society is a concern that we take very seriously.
‘Diversity at ESA should not only address the origin, age, background or gender of our astronauts, but also perhaps physical disabilities.
‘The European Space Agency doesn’t have selection processes that often’, he said, ‘This is the opportunity for people who have dreamt of becoming an astronaut, who want to push the boundaries, to give it a go.
‘You do have to have certain qualifications, of course, that ESA are looking for.
‘But I really would encourage anyone with those qualifications to give it a shot’.
ESA require candidates to have a masters degree, postgraduate degree, and three years of professional experience, with the maximum age of applicants 50-years-old.
The vacancy runs from March 31 to May 28 and ESA will only consider applications submitted to its career website within those eight weeks.
After that, the six-stage selection process will start, which is expected to be completed in October 2022.
Answering questions from young students, Tim cleared up whether things like hearing loss and visual impairment can prevent you from becoming an astronaut.
He explained that as long as you are able to obtain a class two medical certificate, you will be able to apply to the program and the ESA will decide on a case by case basis, but astronauts will require 25 decibels of hearing to join.
If you have problems with your sight, Tim told that you can still consider a career as an astronaut, as long as you have 20/20 vision while wearing glasses or contact lenses.
When asked how to best prepare for a future in space, Tim advised studying STEM subjects at school, which he said will be ‘relevant in your life’ whatever career you eventually embark on.
As for height, Tim said when he was selected to board the Soyuz there was a limit of 5ft to 6ft 3cm – however as there are now more space crafts available the scope has expanded.
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