I’ve got some exciting news! I submitted an application to become an Astronaut with the European Space Agency and I made it through the initial application sift!
Back in around February, the official timeline was released for the European Space Agency to once again invite applications from across Europe for 6 people to join the Astronaut Corps (plus 20 reserves). I was thrilled when it seemed that I would meet the essential requirements and desirable criteria (a mix of educational, experiential and medical) and I couldn’t wait for applications to open.
Applications opened on 31st March and one of my best friends bought me a really lovely gift and kindly printed the ESA Astronaut Handbook for me to read.
This document lays out the selection stages in so much more detail than I expected!
The first phase of the application involved submitting a CV in a Europass format along with a motivation letter, answering a questionnaire with lots of questions about time spent in various circumstances (including hiking in extreme environments, doing field work) and also undergoing the same medical examination needed for a private pilots license.
Most of the application was straightforward, I particularly enjoyed writing my motivation letter – it made it feel so real and exciting.
Only the aviation medical was a pain. I found that there was only one aviation medicine doctor in the area and she really wasn’t a very friendly person. She was condescending and rude to me during our time together and in emails. I didn’t bring all of the right things with me (I needed a particular type of eye exam before arriving for the full medical for example). Anyway, the less said about this now, the better, but it really was a horrible experience. After two trips way outside of Bristol to see this doctor and an anxious wait, I finally held in my hands a medical certificate and I was ready to submit the application in early June!!
It was really exciting but I had to try and push it to one side because I knew it could be MONTHS before I heard anything back. Luckily, my day job obliged and I was thoroughly distracted by a hectic couple of months.
In late August I received an email from ESA that began with the word “Congratulations!” just as I was packing for a weekend away where I would be both a bridesmaid AND groomsman at my friends’ wedding. What a great way to start the weekend!
To be continued…