European Astronaut Corps

The European Astronaut Corps is a unit of the European Space Agency (ESA) that selects, trains, and provides astronauts as crew members on U.S. and Russian space missions. The corps has 13 active members, able to serve on the International Space Station (ISS). The European Astronaut Corps is based at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. They can be assigned to various projects both in Europe (at ESTEC, for instance) or elsewhere in the world, at NASA Johnson Space Center or Star City.

Current members edit

As of 2023 are six active members of the European Astronaut Corps. Five of the six were selected in 2009, and one was selected in 2015.

Time in space
Samantha Cristoforetti   Italy 2009 ESA Group 370d 5h 45m Soyuz TMA-15M (Expedition 42/43), Crew-4 (Expedition 67/68)
Alexander Gerst   Germany 2009 ESA Group 362d 1h 50m Soyuz TMA-13M (Expedition 40/41), Soyuz MS-09 (Expedition 56/57)
Andreas Mogensen   Denmark 2009 ESA Group 9d 20h 14m Soyuz TMA-18M/16M, Crew-7 Currently in space
Luca Parmitano   Italy 2009 ESA Group 366d 23h 1m Soyuz TMA-09M (Expedition 36/37), Soyuz MS-13 (Expedition 60/61)
Thomas Pesquet   France 2009 ESA Group 396d 11h 34m Soyuz MS-03 (Expedition 50/51), Crew-2 (Expedition 65/66)
Matthias Maurer   Germany 2015 ESA Group 176d 2h 39m Crew-3 (Expedition 66/67)

All of the current members of the corps have flown to space and have visited the ISS. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet is the member of the corps who has accumulated the most time in space with 396 days, 11 hours and 34 minutes. He is the record holder for all the European astronauts in history. The corps currently includes one woman, Samantha Cristoforetti, who formerly held the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman. Timothy Peake, a member of the 2009 group, retired in 2023.[1]

2009 Group edit

On 3 April 2008, ESA director general Jean-Jacques Dordain announced that recruiting for a new class of European astronauts will start in the near future.[2] The selection program for 4 new astronauts was launched on 19 May 2008 with applications due by 16 June 2008[citation needed] so that final selection would be due spring 2009.[3] Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates as of 18 June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. From these 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing which led to 192 candidates on 24 September 2008. After two stage psychological tests 80 candidates continued on to medical evaluation in January–February 2009. 40 or so candidates head to formal interviews to select four new members to European Astronaut Corps.[3]

2022 Group edit

Recruitment for the 2022 ESA Astronaut Group took place over 2021-22 and added five "career" astronauts as well as for the first time a "reserve pool" of 11 astronaut candidates, and also a person with a physical disability through the "parastronaut feasibility project".[4][5]

In June 2023, Marcus Wandt, originally a reserve astronaut, was proposed for an Axiom Space mission and transitioned to "project" astronaut.[6] The same fate was reserved to Sławosz Uznański.

Name Country Role
Sophie Adenot[7]   France Career astronaut
Pablo Álvarez Fernández[8]   Spain Career astronaut
Rosemary Coogan[9]   United Kingdom Career astronaut
Raphaël Liégeois[10]   Belgium Career astronaut
Marco Alain Sieber[11]    Switzerland Career astronaut
John McFall[12]   United Kingdom Parastronaut
Meganne Christian[13]   United Kingdom Astronaut reserve
Anthea Comellini[14]   Italy Astronaut reserve
Sara García Alonso[15]   Spain Astronaut reserve
Andrea Patassa[16]   Italy Astronaut reserve
Carmen Possnig[17]   Austria Astronaut reserve
Arnaud Prost[18]   France Astronaut reserve
Amelie Schoenenwald[19]   Germany Astronaut reserve
Aleš Svoboda[20]   Czech Republic Astronaut reserve
Sławosz Uznański[21]   Poland Project astronaut
Marcus Wandt[22]   Sweden Project astronaut
Nicola Winter[23]   Germany Astronaut reserve

The funding by NASA and Russia of the International Space Station is currently planned to end in 2030. Thanks to their involvement with NASA's Orion programme, ESA will receive three flight opportunities for European astronauts to the Lunar Gateway.[24]

Former members edit

There are 18 former members of the ESA astronaut corps.[25]

Some ESA astronauts were selected by other European agencies and then enrolled into the European Astronaut Corps in 1998.

Time in space
Hans Schlegel   Germany 1987 DLR Group 22d 18h 01m STS-55, STS-122
André Kuipers   Netherlands 1998 ESA Group 203d 15h 50m Soyuz TMA-4/3, Soyuz TMA-03M (Expedition 30/31)
Christer Fuglesang   Sweden 1992 ESA Group 26d 17h 37m STS-116, STS-128
Léopold Eyharts   France 1990 CNES Group 68d 21h 28m Soyuz TM-27/26, STS-122/123 (Expedition 16)
Jean-François Clervoy   France 1992 ESA Group 28d 03h 04m STS-66, STS-84, STS-103
Maurizio Cheli   Italy 1992 ESA Group 15d 17h 41m STS-75
Pedro Duque   Spain 1992 ESA Group 18d 18h 46m STS-95, Soyuz TMA-3/2
Reinhold Ewald   Germany 1990 DLR Group 19d 16h 34m Soyuz TM-25/24
Umberto Guidoni   Italy 1989 ASI Group 27d 15h 10m STS-75, STS-100
Claudie Haigneré née André-Deshays   France 1985 CNES Group 25d 14h 22m Soyuz TM-24/23, Soyuz TM-33/32
Jean-Pierre Haigneré   France 1985 CNES Group 209d 12h 24m Soyuz TM-17/16, Soyuz TM-29 (Mir EO-27)
Ulf Merbold   Germany 1978 ESA Group 49d 21h 36m STS-9, STS-42, Soyuz TM-20/19 (Euromir 94)
Marianne Merchez   Belgium 1992 ESA Group N/A N/A
Ernst Messerschmid   Germany 1982 DLR Group 7d 00h 44m STS-61-A
Paolo Nespoli   Italy 1998 ESA Group 313d 02h 36m STS-120, Soyuz TMA-20 (Expedition 26/27), Soyuz MS-05 (Expedition 52/53)
Claude Nicollier   Switzerland 1978 ESA Group 42d 12h 03m STS-46, STS-61, STS-75, STS-103
Wubbo Ockels   Netherlands 1978 ESA Group 7d 00h 44m STS-61-A
Philippe Perrin   France 1990 CNES Group 13d 20h 35m STS-111
Thomas Reiter   Germany 1992 ESA Group 350d 05h 35m Soyuz TM-22 (Mir EO-20), STS-121/116 (Expedition 13/14)
Gerhard Thiele   Germany 1987 DLR Group 11d 05h 38m STS-99
Michel Tognini   France 1985 CNES Group 18d 17h 45m Soyuz TM-15/14, STS-93
Frank de Winne   Belgium 1998 ESA Group 198d 17h 34m Soyuz TMA-1/TM-34, Soyuz TMA-15 (Expedition 20/21)
Roberto Vittori   Italy 1998 ESA Group 35d 12h 26m Soyuz TM-34/33, Soyuz TMA-6/5, STS-134
Timothy Peake   United Kingdom 2009 ESA Group 185d 22h 11m Soyuz TMA-19M (Expedition 46/47)

European astronauts outside of ESA edit

Interkosmos edit

Ten Europeans became astronauts within the Soviet Union's Interkosmos program, which allowed citizens of allied nations to fly missions to the Salyut 6, Salyut 7 and Mir space station.

Space Shuttle edit

NASA trained and flew astronauts from allied nations on the Space Shuttle, especially as payload specialists for scientific missions such as Spacelab. Prior to the foundation of the ESA astronaut corps, both the French CNES and the German DLR had selected their own rosters of astronauts, notably in preparation for the introduction of the ISS. The following people flew on various Shuttle missions.[a]

  1. ^ Other European astronauts who flew on the Space Shuttle were transferred to the ESA astronaut corps, and are listed above.

Russian Mir missions edit

The following people flew on missions to Mir under agreements between their nations and Russia.

Space Shuttle missions edit

Astronauts from the European Astronaut Corps participated in several NASA Space Shuttle missions before the ISS era, in particular as Spacelab payload specialists. NASA considered the full-time ESA astronauts as payload specialists, but offered some the opportunity to train with its own astronauts and become NASA mission specialists.[26] (This list excludes missions to Mir or the ISS)

As Payload Specialists edit

  • Ulf Merbold – STS-9 (Spacelab), STS-42 (Spacelab)
  • Reinhard Furrer – STS-61-A (Spacelab-D1 Mission)
  • Wubbo Ockels – STS-61-A (Spacelab-D1 Mission)
  • Hans Schlegel – STS-55 (Spacelab-D2 Mission)
  • Ulrich Walter – STS-55 (Spacelab-D2 Mission)

As Mission Specialists edit

Missions to the Mir space stations edit

Astronauts from Europe have flown to Mir both on board Soyuz vehicles (as part of the Euromir programme) or on board the Space Shuttle.[27]

Missions to the International Space Station edit

European astronauts to have visited the ISS are:

Astronaut Agency Mission Launch Return Expedition Launch Date Return Date Note
  Umberto Guidoni ESA STS-100 STS-100 Expedition 2 19 Apr 2001 1 May 2001 Flight 6A with MPLM Raffaello, visited Expedition 2 crew
  Claudie Haigneré CNES Andromède Soyuz TM-33 Soyuz TM-32 Expedition 3 21 Oct 2001 31 Oct 2001 Visited Expedition 3 crew
  Roberto Vittori ESA Marco Polo Soyuz TM-34 Soyuz TM-33 Expedition 4 25 Apr 2002 5 May 2002 Visited Expedition 4 crew
  Philippe Perrin CNES STS-111 STS-111 Expedition 4/5 5 Jun 2002 19 Jun 2002 ISS Assembly Flight UF-2, launched with Expedition 5 crew and landed with Expedition 4 crew
  Frank De Winne ESA Odissea Soyuz TMA-1 Soyuz TM-34 Expedition 5 30 Oct 2002 10 Nov 2002 Visited Expedition 5 crew
  Pedro Duque ESA Cervantes Soyuz TMA-3 Soyuz TMA-2 Expedition 7/8 18 Oct 2003 28 Oct 2003 Launched with Expedition 8 crew landed with Expedition 7 crew,
  André Kuipers ESA DELTA Soyuz TMA-4 Soyuz TMA-3 Expedition 8/9 19 Apr 2004 30 Apr 2004 Launnched with Expedition 8 crew, landed with Expedition 8 crew
  Roberto Vittori ESA Eneide Soyuz TMA-6 Soyuz TMA-5 Expedition 10/11 15 Apr 2005 24 Apr 2005 Launched with Expedition 11 crew, landed with Expedition 10 crew
  Thomas Reiter ESA Astrolab STS-121 STS-116 Expedition 13/14 4 Jul 2006 22 Dec 2006 ISS Assembly Flight ULF 1.1, first European to live on the ISS as flight engineer on Expedition 13 and 14
  Christer Fuglesang ESA Celsius STS-116 STS-116 Expedition 14 10 Dec 2006 22 Dec 2006 ISS Assembly Flight 12A.1, visited Expedition 14 crew
  Paolo Nespoli ESA Esperia STS-120 STS-120 Expedition 16 23 Oct 2007 7 Nov 2007 ISS Assembly Flight 10A, visited Expedition 16 crew
  Hans Schlegel ESA Columbus STS-122 STS-122 Expedition 16 7 Feb 2008 20 Feb 2008 ISS Assembly Flight 1E, visited Expedition 16 crew
  Léopold Eyharts ESA Columbus STS-122 STS-123 Expedition 16 7 Feb 2008 27 Mar 2008 ISS Assembly Flight 1E, second European to live on the ISS as flight engineer on Expedition 16
  Frank De Winne ESA OasISS Soyuz TMA-15 Soyuz TMA-15 Expedition 20/21 27 May 2009 1 Dec 2009 Flight engineer on Expedition 20, first European to command the ISS as commander of Expedition 21
  Christer Fuglesang ESA AlISSé STS-128 STS-128 Expedition 20 29 Aug 2009 12 Sep 2009 ISS Assembly Flight 17A, visited Expedition 20 crew
  Paolo Nespoli ESA MagISStra Soyuz TMA-20 Soyuz TMA-20 Expedition 26/27 15 Dec 2010 24 May 2011 Flight engineer on Expedition 26 and 27
  Roberto Vittori ESA DAMA STS-134 STS-134 Expedition 27/28 16 May 2011 1 Jun 2011 Visited Expedition 27 and 28
  André Kuipers ESA PromISSe Soyuz TMA-03M Soyuz TMA-03M Expedition 30/31 21 Dec 2011 1 Jul 2012 Flight engineer on Expedition 30 and 31
  Luca Parmitano ESA Volare Soyuz TMA-09M Soyuz TMA-09M Expedition 36/37 28 May 2013 11 Nov 2013 Flight engineer on Expedition 36 and 37, first member of the 2009 ESA astronaut class to fly
  Alexander Gerst ESA Blue Dot Soyuz TMA-13M Soyuz TMA-13M Expedition 40/41 28 May 2014 10 Nov 2014 Flight engineer on Expedition 40 and 41
  Samantha Cristoforetti ESA Futura Soyuz TMA-15M Soyuz TMA-15M Expedition 42/43 23 Nov 2014 11 Jun 2015 Flight engineer on Expedition 42 and 43, Longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut
  Andreas Mogensen ESA IrISS[28] Soyuz TMA-18M Soyuz TMA-16M Expedition 44 2 Sep 2015 12 Sep 2015 Visited Expedition 44 crew, first Danish astronaut
  Timothy Peake ESA Principia[29] Soyuz TMA-19M Soyuz TMA-19M Expedition 46/47 15 Dec 2015 18 June 2016 Flight engineer on Expedition 46 and 47
  Thomas Pesquet ESA Proxima[30] Soyuz MS-03 Soyuz MS-03 Expedition 50/51 17 Nov 2016 16 May 2017 Flight engineer on Expedition 50 and 51
  Paolo Nespoli[31] ESA Vita Soyuz MS-05 Soyuz MS-05 Expedition 52/53 28 July 2017 14 December 2017 Flight engineer on Expedition 52 and 53
  Alexander Gerst ESA Horizons Soyuz MS-09 Soyuz MS-09 Expedition 56/57 6 June 2018 20 December 2018 Flight engineer on Expedition 56, second European to command the ISS as commander of Expedition 57
  Luca Parmitano ESA Beyond Soyuz MS-13 Soyuz MS-13 Expedition 60/61 20 July 2019 6 February 2020 Flight engineer on Expedition 60, third European to command the ISS as commander of Expedition 61
  Thomas Pesquet ESA Alpha SpaceX Crew-2 SpaceX Crew-2 Expedition 65/66 23 April 2021 9 November 2021 Flight engineer on Expedition 65, fourth European to command the ISS as commander of the final part of Expedition 65 and the first part of Expedition 66.
  Matthias Maurer ESA Cosmic Kiss SpaceX Crew-3 SpaceX Crew-3 Expedition 66/67 11 November 2021 6 May 2022 Flight engineer on Expedition 66 and 67
  Samantha Cristoforetti ESA Minerva SpaceX Crew-4 SpaceX Crew-4 Expedition 67/68 27 Apr 2022 14 Oct 2022 Flight engineer on Expedition 67, fifth European to command the ISS as commander of the first part of Expedition 68.
  Andreas Mogensen ESA Huginn[32] SpaceX Crew-7 SpaceX Crew-7 Expeditions 69/70 26 August 2023 Q1 2024 First non-American astronaut to pilot a United States spacecraft. Sixth European to command the ISS as commander of the first part of Expedition 70.

Future missions to the International Space Station edit

Future European astronauts to the ISS are:

Astronaut Agency Mission Launch Return Expedition Launch Date Return Date Note
  Marcus Wandt ESA Muninn[33] Axiom Mission 3 Axiom Mission 3 Visiting NET January 2024[34] Q1 2024 First ESA Astronaut on a private mission to ISS, first from the 2022 European Space Agency Astronaut Group to fly in space.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Astronaut Tim Peake assumes ESA ambassadorial role". Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  2. ^ Clark, Stephen (3 April 2008). "Europe's new cargo freighter safely docks to space station". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Closing in on new astronauts". ESA. 24 September 2008. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Astronaut selection 2021-22 FAQs". Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  5. ^ "ESA presents new generation of ESA astronauts". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  6. ^ "N° 28–2023: ESA proposes Marcus Wandt from Sweden to fly on a future Axiom space mission". European space agency. 15 June 2023. Retrieved 15 June 2023..
  7. ^ "Sophie Adenot". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  8. ^ "Pablo Álvarez Fernández". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  9. ^ "Rosemary Coogan". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  10. ^ "Raphaël Liégeois". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  11. ^ "Marco Alain Sieber". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  12. ^ "John McFall". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  13. ^ "Meganne Christian". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  14. ^ "Anthea Comellini". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  15. ^ "Sara García Alonso". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  16. ^ "Andrea Patassa". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  17. ^ "Carmen Possnig". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  18. ^ "Arnaud Prost". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  19. ^ "Amelie Schoenenwald". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  20. ^ "Aleš Svoboda". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  21. ^ "Sławosz Uznański". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  22. ^ "Marcus Wandt". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  23. ^ "Nicola Winter". Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  24. ^ Positive signs for Europe as ESA goes forward to the Moon
  25. ^ "European astronauts in new functions". ESA. 2 August 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  26. ^ Croft, Melvin; Youskauskas, John (2019). Come Fly with Us: NASA's Payload Specialist Program. Outward Odyssey: a People's History of Spaceflight. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 61–63. ISBN 9781496212252.
  27. ^ "European Manned Spaceflight Patches" (PDF). ESA. 29 October 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  28. ^ "The iriss name and logos". ESA. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  29. ^ "ESA mission name for astronaut Tim Peake: Principia F". ESA. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  30. ^ "Thomas Pesquet closer to space with mission name Proxima". ESA. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  31. ^ "Third spaceflight for astronaut Paolo Nespoli". ESA. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  32. ^ "Introducing Huginn". ESA. 18 August 2022.
  33. ^ "Muninn Mission Patch and Name". ESA. 16 June 2023.
  34. ^

External links edit