The ESA astronaut selection has been progressing as planned, with phase two of the selection process ending in March this year, and phase three ending in June. 

During phase three, just over 400 applicants attended ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, for thorough psychological assessment by an international team of experts. Though the precise tasks and tests are confidential, this phase was designed to ensure that selected candidates met the psychological profile required to work as an astronaut.

Phase four of the selection process began on 2 May 2022 and is ongoing. During this round of selection, applicants will have a medical evaluation which assesses their health and physical capabilities. Working as an astronaut is physically demanding, requiring stamina, dexterity and more. This assessment ensures selected candidates are capable of keeping up with the physical effort required by this position, both on Earth and in space.

The medical assessment has also been expanded to include applicants for the astronaut with a physical disability position, for whom the typical physical requirements would be a barrier to selection. In this first instance of ‘parastronaut’ recruitment, those with lower limb deficiency and/or those with statures below 130 cm are being considered. ESA is committed to pursuing a vision of space for all, and looks forward to what will be learned from the ‘Parastronaut Fly!’ Feasibility Project.

Invitations for the final phase, during which applicants will participate in panel interviews, will be issued this summer.

In 2021, ESA opened applications for the roles of astronaut and astronaut with a physical disability. This was the first call for new astronaut applicants since 2008.

In response, ESA received more than 22 000 valid applications for the role of astronaut from across Member States and Associate Members. Of those, 1361 individuals were invited to participate in phase two of the selection process. For the role of astronaut with a physical disability, 257 applications were received, 27 of which were invited to phase two.

Final applicants are expected to be selected at the end of 2022.

ESA thanks all applicants for their interest and commitment.

Further information

Astronaut Selection Handbook  

Astronaut Selection Media kit 

Astronaut Selection Website

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About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia, Latvia and Lithuania are Associate Members.

ESA has established formal cooperation with five Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with Eumetsat for the development of meteorological missions.

Learn more about ESA at

For further information:

ESA Newsroom and Media Relations Office – Ninja Menning


Tel: +31 71 565 6409