ESA Astronaut update

As I sit in Inverness, taking a break from my final preparations for the expedition, which I embark upon tonight, I thought I had better post the latest update on my astronaut journey.

Sadly I didn’t make it through to Round 3 in Cologne. I recently received the rejection email along with all of the lovely people I met at Astronaut Selection in Hamburg back in September.

Of course I’m disappointed – I really wanted to make it to Cologne to try out my language skills and to get to spend a decent amount of time with other candidates, but I’m REALLY pleased to have made it through the initial rounds of selection.

ESA also recently published the statistics surrounding the applicants.

ESA Astronaut Selection graphic

I was one of 22,523 applicants, and one of only 1,361 to be invited to Round 2, so I made it to the final 6%.

I can’t wait to hear more about the 400 amazing individuals that have made it through to the next round.

I tend to be gender-blind enough that I’m not keen on tracking male/female stats but there is a clear need to keep pushing to ensure that wonderful women and girls don’t limit themselves or self-select themselves out of the running for things like this.

Imagine if the final astronaut line-up ends up having more female astronauts than males ones from an initial field of only 24% women… A pretty strong signal has already been sent with the down-selection for Round 2 – the proportion of women jumped to 39%. I hope we never ever get a whiff of positive discrimination (so damaging to everyone), but I really hope we get to see that these women are kick-ass in their own right.

I hope that this next set of ESA astronauts inspires a generation to push themselves to go for it – whatever “it” is, and to genuinely begin to believe that the ONLY real failure is when you don’t try.

As I have been reminded by friends on this journey…

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

So, I’m honoured to have been able to take some steps along this journey, and I am thrilled for those who made it to the next step – I can’t wait to see what they get up to. Ad astra x

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