Home Internships The European Space Agency (ESA) Astronauts Programme 2021/2022 for young professionals.

The European Space Agency (ESA) Astronauts Programme 2021/2022 for young professionals.

by odiary

Application Deadline: 28 May 2021

The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for professionals who are able to conduct spaceflight missions to low Earth orbit and the Moon and to fulfil technical, scientific, managerial, or administrative tasks in support of the human spaceflight programme, in particular, and ESA, in general.

ESA astronauts make up the European Astronaut Corps, which is the single corps of astronauts that represent all the ESA Member States. ESA astronauts are, first and foremost, representatives of Europe in space. The corps consists currently of seven astronauts who can be assigned by ESA to spaceflight missions. Through their training and spaceflight experience, the European Astronaut Corps, both individually and collectively, is a resource of European expertise of human spaceflight operations.

ESA astronauts are amongst the most visible players in human spaceflight, working under the authority of the Leader of the LEO Exploration Group. Due to their high visibility, astronauts are natural ambassadors of the Agency and its programmes. ESA astronauts need to have sound practical skills (kind of “generalist”) and excellent communication abilities, including public speaking.


As one of the ESA Astronauts, you will perform a wide range of duties, including:

  • Training for space flight at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC), at the training centres of ESA’s partner agencies and at other locations, including industry or research laboratories.
  • Executing space missions to the ISS and beyond Low Earth Orbit, which may require one or more of the following detailed tasks:
    • Operating and maintaining on-board systems
    • Launch, rendezvous, docking and landing operations
    • Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA) and robotic operations
    • Conducting scientific and technological experiments
    • Participating in life science experiments as test subjects
    • Participating in health and medical operations activities.
  • Providing operational support to space missions, including:
    • Supporting the flight crew as part of the distributed European flight control community
    • Developing detailed operational concepts for a given mission
    • Developing operational products (e.g. procedures, timelines, etc.).
  • Providing general or technical support at the European Astronaut Centre (related to the activities of the Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration Programmes), for other ESA Directorates and at other locations.
  • Supporting the definition and development of future ESA human spaceflight activities, or other related programmes conducted by partner agencies or organisations (e.g. for future space transportation systems).
  • Engaging in outreach and communication activities, both on ground and during your space flights.

The tasks above may evolve as the ESA Human Spaceflight Programme is further developed in the coming years.


  • Education: at least one of the following qualifications is required:
  1. Minimum of a Master’s(**) degree from a recognised academic institution in Natural Sciences (including Physical Sciences; Earth, Atmosphere or Ocean Sciences; Biological Sciences), Engineering or Mathematics/Computer Sciences;
  2. A medical qualification from a recognised academic institution, authorising the autonomous practice of medicine as general practitioner or as medical specialist in the country where it has been obtained;
  3. A PhD or equivalent degree or additional Master’s degrees in the aforementioned subject areas are considered an asset;
  4. A degree as Experimental Test Pilot and/or Test Engineer from an official Experimental Test Pilot School(***) in addition to a Bachelor in the disciplines listed in the first bullet.
  • Three years of professional relevant experience after graduation in the aforementioned subject areas, with evidence of a progressive increase in responsibilities.
  • Fluency in English (minimum CEFR C1) is required. 
  • Knowledge of one or more other language(s) (minimum CEFR B1) is an asset.(****) 

Technical Competencies

Fine motor skills
Strong analytical and reporting skills
Ability to rapidly assimilate and synthesise complex information
Ability to perform public relation and educational activities (targeting especially children and students)
Ability to learn additional languages as operationally required 

Behavioural competencies

Fostering Cooperation
Continuous Improvement
Result Orientation
Relationship Management
Operational Efficiency
Forward Thinking

Official Website: ESA Astronauts Programme

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