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  ESA recruits six new astronauts (2009)

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Author Topic:   ESA recruits six new astronauts (2009)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-10-2008 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency release
ESA to recruit new European astronauts

With ESA astronauts working in the Columbus laboratory onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and the first of ESA's new ATV cargo ships having delivered fresh supplies to the station, ESA's human spaceflight activities have entered a new era. It is now time for ESA to seek out new talent to bolster its Astronaut Corps for future manned missions to the ISS, the Moon and beyond.

The European Space Agency entered the annals of human spaceflight for the first time in 1978 with its first astronaut selection, followed in 1983 by the first Spacelab mission. Preparations for ESA's Columbus laboratory project, meanwhile, involved a second selection of astronauts in 1992.

The overall selection process will start on Monday 19 May and follow a by now well-established procedure:
  • Screening: the first step in the formal application will be online. Applicants will have to provide the same medical examination certificate as private pilots, the examination for which must be conducted by an Aviation Medical Examiner certified by his/her national aviation medical authority.
  • Two stages of psychological and professional aptitude evaluation, including behavioural and cognitive skills tests.
  • Medical evaluation: this process includes clinical examination by aero- medical physicians and clinical specialists, laboratory screening tests, and special procedures.
  • Formal interview: as potential ESA staff members, the astronaut candidates will go before an ESA selection board for further professional assessment.
  • The final appointments will be officially announced in 2009.
The selected candidates will then join the European Astronaut Corps and begin basic training at the European Astronaut Centre (ESA-EAC) in Cologne, Germany.

"We want to find high-calibre men and women in Europe to prepare to meet the challenges of ISS exploitation and human exploration of our solar system in the 21st century. As of May 2008, ESA will be searching in each of its 17 Member States for the best candidates to make this vision a reality," says Michel Tognini, former astronaut and Head of the European Astronaut Centre.

ISS and beyond

ESA is readying its teams to take part in the human spaceflight missions of the 21st century. The solar system is the next objective for human exploration, and the world's great industrial powers are taking steps to prepare for this vast undertaking. Possessing an operational astronaut corps is an essential strategic asset if Europe is to take part in this endeavour.

"Europe has long been involved in exploration, even before the days of Christopher Columbus," said Daniel Sacotte, ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration. "After exploring the Earth, space is the logical next step - and a new generation of explorers are needed to follow their illustrious predecessor Columbus and embark for those new worlds. I am therefore very pleased that at the beginning of 2009, we will be welcoming a new intake of men and women to the European Astronaut Corps to undertake missions to the ISS and beyond."

ESA needs to regenerate the European Astronaut Corps, increasing its size in order to successfully accomplish its present and future programmes. The Agency has therefore decided to initiate this process of selecting new astronauts. Candidates from all 17 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) are welcome to apply.

Background in science and operations

"The ideal European astronaut candidate should be competent in relevant scientific disciplines, including but not restricted to life sciences, physics, chemistry and medicine and/or be an engineer or pilot, and should have demonstrated outstanding abilities in research, applications or the educational field, preferably including operational skills. In addition, characteristics expected of all applicants include a good memory and reasoning ability, concentration, aptitude for spatial orientation, and manual dexterity," explained Gerhard Thiele, former astronaut and Head of the European Astronaut Division. Applicants should be fluent in English (Russian is also an asset) and should exhibit personality traits such as high motivation, flexibility, team competence, empathy with others and emotional stability.

Europe-wide information campaign

This major recruitment campaign will kick off with information conferences held in ESA Member States, in which ESA astronauts will be involved. Media organisations will be kept informed and will have the opportunity to attend these events.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-30-2008 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SPACE.com: ESA May Face British Astronaut Quandary
The 17-nation European Space Agency (ESA) is scheduled to begin a year-long astronaut selection process May 19 and already is being asked to confront a nightmare scenario: that a British citizen emerges among the best candidates.

Now Britain's Royal Aeronautical Society (RAS) has written the equivalent of a screenplay for turning ESA's bad dream into a full-length horror film. In a paper to be published May 1 in its Aerospace Magazine, the RAS Space Group Committee says a British astronaut trained by ESA could get an early trip to the Moon as part of NASA's Constellation program following a bilateral cooperation accord on a robotic lunar mission between NASA and Britain.

To the dismay of other ESA member states, and particularly Germany, Italy and France, Britain has gone "without the need for the budget" for astronaut programs for years while these nations have spent billions on the Spacelab laboratory launched aboard the U.S. space shuttle, a 20-year commitment to the international space station and their own national astronaut programs.

ESA already is scrambling to find additional astronaut slots at the international space station. Its 8.3 percent ownership stake in the non-Russian section of the orbital complex gives it the right to launch one astronaut every two years -- for a period of six months -- starting in 2009 when the station's permanent crew size increases to six from the current three.

It remains unclear whether ESA's policy of distributing contracts according to each nation's financial participation in a program applies to selecting astronauts as well.

But ESA officials concede that any selection of a British astronaut without an accompanying agreement by the British government to make a big financial contribution to ESA's human spaceflight program would not be well received in Germany, Italy and France, which are also the agency's three biggest overall contributors.

And if Britain's ambition in joining ESA's astronaut corps simply was to get low-cost training for a NASA-U.K. mission with no ESA involvement, the opposition would be that much greater.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-23-2008 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency release
Applicants from all ESA Member States to become an European astronaut

ESA began its search for new astronauts on 19 May, calling for applications from talented individuals who wish to join the European Astronaut Corps. Almost 10 000 individuals registered to begin the application process. At the close of the application phase which lasted a month, 8413 aspiring astronauts provided a medical certificate and finalised the online application form. This qualifies them for the next step in the selection process.

Details

Most of the applications were received from France (22.1%) and Germany (21.4%) followed by Italy (11.0%), the United Kingdom (9.8%) and Spain (9.4%). 16% of the total of applications were submitted by women. Further details are in the table below.

ESA astronaut recruitment campaign 2008
Total number of applicants at the closure of the application period

CountryNo. of applicants% of total applicantsas 2nd citizenship*Men**Women**
Austria2102.5%819523
Belgium2533.0%822437
Denmark350.4%4345
Finland3364.0%528358
France186022.1%581616302
Germany179821.4%351523310
Greece1591.9%1415221
Ireland1281.5%1111029
Italy92711.0%39815151
Luxembourg140.2%0140
Norway740.9%2679
Other720.9%30930180
Portugal2102.5%1019228
Spain7899.4%21707103
Sweden1722.0%915625
Switzerland3514.2%2632552
The Netherlands2032.4%217530
United Kingdom8229.8%42697167
Total8413100.0%60375861430

* number of applicants having stated this country as their 2nd citizenship
** number of applicants being a citizen of this country either as unique or 2nd citizenship

The Astronaut Selection Team, based at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany, now has the challenging task to select the best applicants. Those who make it through this first selection can soon expect to receive a letter inviting them to participate in the next stage - the psychological testing.

Psychological testing

"We now have a large number of highly qualified applicants. I am confident that we will find the outstanding individuals we are looking for. This will be ensured by the next selection steps, starting with a first round of psychological testing," said Michel Tognini, Head of the European Astronaut Centre.

Those tests aim to identify the psychological and technical skills of the applicants, who will be tested in different fields including visual memory and psychomotor aptitude.

"I am very pleased that we have received so many applications stemming from all our 17 ESA Member States," says Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight. "This shows that the strong commitment for Human Spaceflight and Exploration, which ESA and its Member States demonstrated in holding the first astronaut selection after more than 15 years, is met by an equally strong interest from European citizens."

To ISS and beyond

This campaign is ESA's first astronaut selection since 1992, providing the opportunity to be at the forefront of ESA's human spaceflight programmes, including future missions to the ISS and beyond.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-11-2008 07:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
swissinfo: ESA whittles down list of would-be astronauts
Of 350 aspiring Swiss astronauts, along with thousands of other hopefuls who had sought to take part in Europe's astronaut programme, most have received bad news.

The would-be space explorers were among 8,000 who had originally applied for one of eight spots in the European Space Agency (ESA) programme, according to former Swiss astronaut Claude Nicollier.

On Monday, ESA told swissinfo that only 900 hopefuls remain in the race. They are undergoing psychological tests in the German city of Hamburg, set to finish at the end of this month.

One in five -- around 180 men and women -- will make it through to the next round, although ESA said it would not release names.

Delta7
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posted 05-11-2009 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The European Space Agency is scheduled to announce its selectees on Wednesday May 20.
ESA presents the new European astronauts at its Paris Headquarters on 20 May

ESA began the search for new astronauts in 2008, calling for applications from talented European citizens who wished to join the European Astronaut Corps to conduct future missions to the International Space Station, and one day to the Moon and beyond.

Following a very demanding selection process, which started out with 8413 valid applications, ESA is ready to announce the individuals who are to become the new European astronauts. Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, and Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight, will present them at ESA Headquarters on 20 May.

On that occasion, media are invited to a press conference at ESA Headquarters starting at 13:15 CEST.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 05-20-2009 07:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency release
ESA prepares for the next generation of human spaceflight and exploration by recruiting a new class of European astronauts

ESA 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:
  1. Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian
  2. Alexander Gerst, German
  3. Andreas Mogensen, Danish
  4. Luca Parmitano, Italian
  5. Timothy Peake, British
  6. 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.

"We are at a turning point in ESA's human spaceflight activities. Last year, with the launch of the Columbus laboratory and the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle, ESA became a fully-fledged member of the International Space Station partnership. We are now entering a new phase of utilisation of the unique capabilities offered by the ISS and preparation for international exploration of the Moon and beyond," said ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain.

"This new phase required the recruitment of young talent able to draw on the experience gained by the existing astronauts, able to become, step by step, the representatives of Europe in space who, together with their international colleagues, will live, work, explore and bring back to planet Earth and its citizens their unique experience, their accomplishments and their confidence in the future. They all represent the generation that will move from low earth orbit to the Moon," Dordain added.

"I am very proud of the result achieved with this selection," said Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight. "Proud, as a European, of the calibre of the candidates, proud of the organisational efforts made by ESA and in particular by the European Astronaut Centre. This result exceeds our greatest expectations. Not only do we have a group of outstanding astronauts; we also have a representation of European countries that reinforces the support for human spaceflight and exploration in Europe." She added: "With the ISS lifetime being considered for an extension to 2020 and beyond, I believe today's selection of six new astronauts shows where Europe stands."

"This is a very important day for human spaceflight in Europe," continued Di Pippo. "These young men and women are the next generation of European space explorers. They have a fantastic career ahead, which will put them right on top of one of the ultimate challenges of our time: going back to the Moon and beyond as part of the global exploration effort."

Europe's new astronauts will start their basic training at the European Astronaut Centre (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.

From left to right: Luca Parmitano, Alexander Gerst, Andreas Mogensen, Samantha Cristoforetti, Timothy Peake and Thomas Pesquet.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-20-2009 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency release [portraits]
Europe's new astronauts - short biographies
  • Samantha Cristoforetti was born in Milan, Italy, in 1977. She studied at the Technische Universität Munich, Germany, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace in Toulouse, France, and the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technologies in Moscow, Russia. She holds a master’s degree in engineering, as well as a master’s degree in aeronautical sciences from the University of Naples Federico II in Italy. Lt. Cristoforetti is a fighter pilot with the Italian Air Force. In her leisure time, she enjoys mountaineering, scuba diving and caving.

  • Alexander Gerst was born in Künzelsau, Germany, in 1977. He studied at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, where he received a master’s degree in physics. He also studied Earth Science at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, where he was awarded a Master of Science. He has been working as a researcher since 2005. In his spare time, he enjoys mountaineering, diving, climbing and skydiving.

  • Andreas Mogensen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1976. He received a master’s degree in engineering from Imperial College, London, and a doctorate in engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, in the United States. He has been working as an attitude & orbit control system and guidance, navigation & control engineer for HE Space Operations. His pastimes include rugby, mountaineering and diving.

  • Luca Parmitano was born in Paternò, Italy, in 1976. He holds a diploma in aeronautical sciences from the Italian Air Force Academy and was trained as a Full Experimental Test Pilot at EPNER, the French test pilot school in Istres. Capt. Parmitano, a pilot with the Italian Air Force, is an active scuba diver and enjoys climbing and paragliding.

  • Timothy Peake was born in Chichester, UK, in 1972. He completed a degree in flight dynamics and qualified as a Full Experimental Test Pilot at the UK’s Empire Test Pilots' School. He is an officer serving with Her Majesty’s Forces as an Experimental Test Pilot. He is an avid cross country runner and includes climbing and caving among his leisure activities.

  • Thomas Pesquet was born in Rouen, France, in 1978. He received a master’s degree from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace in Toulouse, France. He worked at the French space agency, CNES, as a research engineer, and then went on to become a pilot for Air France where he is currently flying Airbus A320s. He enjoys jogging, swimming, squash and judo and has experience in diving and paragliding.

East-Frisian
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posted 05-20-2009 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some statistics:

Denmark had 35 applicants and 1 was selected. The UK had 822 with one selected and Italy had 927 applicants with 2 selected.

Germany and France, 1798/1860, had only one selected astronaut and for example Spain had 789 applicants but no new astronaut. So Denmark had a very good score. Congrats to all selected astronauts.

issman1
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posted 05-21-2009 08:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought I was imagining it, but I am very, very pleased that Timothy Peake will represent the UK in the European Astronaut Corps. May his selection spur current and future British governments to fund human spaceflight programmes within ESA.

machbusterman
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posted 05-21-2009 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for machbusterman   Click Here to Email machbusterman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great news that a Brit was selected... though on "GMTV" this morning they were calling him Britain's first astronaut.

Delta7
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posted 05-21-2009 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, in a sense he IS Britain's first full-time, exclusively British professional Astronaut. In THAT sense, Helen Sharman, Mike Foale, Piers Sellers and Nick Patrick don't count.

FFrench
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posted 05-21-2009 09:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting that he is the second 'Major Tim' to be chosen as a British spacefarer... Sharman's backup was Major Tim Mace, who was, like Peake, a military helicopter pilot.

FFrench
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posted 05-22-2009 10:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
In THAT sense, Helen Sharman, Mike Foale, Piers Sellers and Nick Patrick don't count.

Gregory H. Johnson, Richard Garriott, and Anthony Llewellyn were also born in the UK.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-10-2009 03:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ESA release (September 3)
New class of European astronauts report for training

ESA's new astronaut recruits reported this week to the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. The six have started the first days of their 18-month basic training in preparation for future missions to the International Space Station and beyond.

The new astronauts are:

  • Samantha Cristoforetti, from Milan, Italy.
  • Alexander Gerst, from K├╝nzelsau, Germany.
  • Andreas Mogensen, from Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Luca Parmitano, from Patern├▓, Italy.
  • Timothy Peake, from Chichester, UK.
  • Thomas Pesquet, from Rouen, France.
"I am very happy that our new colleagues reported to EAC in Cologne to start their training. The taking-up duty of the new class of ESA astronaut marks our commitment to a future important role for Europe in human spaceflight," said Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight. "We are already flying an average of two ESA astronauts every year to the ISS. In 2010, ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori will fly to the ISS in July to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli will fly in November to work on the ISS for six months.

"In 2011, ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers will spend six months on the ISS as well. The new European astronauts, who will be ready to be assigned around 2013, will allow us to secure this continuity. As we are discussing the extension of the ISS beyond 2016, they will surely get the chance to fly to the ISS and beyond quite soon."

Basic training for the European astronauts will take place mostly at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC), where they will follow a training programme developed by EAC according to international specifications agreed between the International Space Station (ISS) partners.

Classroom lessons will introduce them to ESA and the industrial partners, followed by fundamentals such as electrical engineering, before entering in more detail into space systems and operations and subjects such as Europe's participation in ISS (Columbus, Automated Transfer Vehicle) and Soyuz. Other lessons will provide grounding for special skills necessary for their future, such as learning Russian, SCUBA diving for spacewalk familiarisation and survival training.

After completion of basic training, the astronauts are ready to enter the next ISS training phase and, once assigned to a mission, their training will be tailored to their specific tasks.

"It is not enough to be a good scientist or an excellent engineer to become an astronaut; the 18-month basic training at EAC will bring the new astronauts to a professional level in various fields, including Russian, fundamentals of several scientific disciplines, history of spaceflight, space engineering, human behaviour, flight training and other essential parts of the astronaut job. This will enable them to be trained to carry out complex tasks during space missions," said Michel Tognini, Head of EAC.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-22-2010 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ESA release
Graduation of Europe's new astronauts

ESA's six latest astronaut candidates proudly received their diplomas today at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. From now on, they are officially 'astronauts'.

The new astronauts, smiling in their blue overalls, were in the spotlight at ESA's training centre today. They were presented with their certificates signed by Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General, Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of Human Spaceflight, and Michel Togini, Head of the Astronaut Group.

The graduation ceremony, held in front of friends, family, guests and media, marked a milestone in their astronaut careers: the official end of Basic Training, the first phase of astronaut education.

This training covered space engineering, electrical engineering, different scientific disciplines and the major systems of the International Space Station (ISS) and other space vehicles.

It included scuba diving to prepare for spacewalks, robotics, survival training, rendezvous and docking, and the Russian language.

Teamwork

When the new astronaut candidates were selected in 2009, one of the main criteria was the ability to work in a team. The six formed a tight group from the beginning - a team spirit coloured their whole Basic Training period.

"When we introduced these six new astronauts, the most important part was not that there were six individuals representing five member countries, but a team of six persons representing Europe," said Mr. Dordain at the ceremony.

"When I signed your awards a moment ago, I thought that you should have also received a team award, because I know that your team is more solid now than it was a year ago.

"We can't assign you all to one single mission, but you will all fly to space and, when you do, I hope you consider a mission of one of you as mission of your team, too."

"ESA has three new flight opportunities to the ISS before 2015, so half of the new astronauts will have an opportunity to fly in space very soon," said Mrs. Di Pippo. "The first will head into orbit in 2013."

"I hope that with these flight opportunities and with these new astronauts we can give a further push to scientific utilisation of the Space Station.

"I think is important, especially now when we see the utilisation of the Station continuing to 2020 and hopefully also beyond."

European astronaut class 2009

Selection of the new astronauts began in 2008 when ESA called for candidates from all Member States and received more than 8000 applications.

After a year-long selection process, Samantha Cristoforetti from Italy, Alexander Gerst from Germany, Andreas Mogensen from Denmark, Luca Parmitano from Italy, Timothy Peake from the UK and Thomas Pesquet from France were invited to join ESA's astronaut group in May 2009.

The new astronauts will continue with pre-assignment training and taking part in public relations activities. Once assigned to a mission, they will concentrate on specialised training for that mission.

Video material

Video coverage of the different phases of Basic Training of the new ESA astronauts is available online.

eurospace
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posted 11-22-2010 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A nice report of the BBC:
The European Space Agency's (ESA) new intake of astronauts have completed their basic training.

The six individuals - two Italians, a German, a Frenchman, a Dane and a Briton - received their graduation certificates at a special ceremony in Cologne, Germany.

They are the first group of candidates ESA has put through a training programme of its own design.

Previous astronauts have relied on the US and Russia for their education.

spaceman
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posted 11-25-2010 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman   Click Here to Email spaceman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was lucky enough to have been attending the EAC on business the following day (23 November) and met up with the newly qualified Tim Peake. Special thanks to Jean Coisne, Head of EAC Outreach Office Communication Department and Jules Grandsire, EAC PR and Communications and of course Tim Peake of whom we are very proud and wish every success for the future.

All times are CT (US)

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