The European Space Agency (ESA) has reiterated its last call for interested people to join their space crew - including people with physical disabilities and people standing below 130cm (about 4'3").

However, the deadline is near: with the acceptance of astronaut and astronaut (with a physical disability) applications set to end on Friday, June 18, at 2300 BST or 6 PM EST. This marks the end of the latest recruitment campaign for the European Space Agency after more than a decade. The ESA began accepting applications last March 31.

In its press release, ESA announced that all candidates who meet the minimum requirement, including those living in any ESA member countries and "have a passion for space," are encouraged to submit their applications.

ESA Headquarters in Paris, France
(Photo: ESA, M. Trovatello via Wikimedia Commons)

Forming the Next ESA Space Crew

The European Space Agency says that once the applications for the Astronaut and Astronaut (With a Physical Disability) closes, it will mark the beginning of a six-stage selection process. This screening process is expected to take about one and a half years which would see four new members to its astronaut corps, with a reserve team of about 20 more candidates.

"The most selective step is whether or not you are going to apply," says ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet in an accompanying promotional video. Pesquet, an engineer and an airline pilot, submitted his application to be an ESA astronaut in 2008. He was selected in May 2009 and became the youngest member (so far) of the European Astronaut Corps, going on his second mission to the International Space Station last April 23.

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"There's maybe one in a thousand people who are going to be picked up, but there is one in a million who will apply. So please, please, please - apply, apply, apply," Pesquet added.

Additionally, ESA is looking for Astronauts with Physical Disability as a part of its Parastronaut Feasibility Project. In the first-ever human spaceflight endeavor, the space agency announced the search for people who are "psychologically, cognitively, technically and professionally qualified to be an astronaut, but have a physical disability."

Here's How to Apply

In the space agency's job opening pages, there are positions for an Astronaut and Astronaut (With a Physical Disability) as members of the ESA Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration Programmes.

Requirements for both positions include at least one of the following: (1) Master's Degree from recognized academic institutions in the Natural Sciences including Physical Sciences; Earth, Atmosphere, or Ocean Sciences; and Biological Sciences, or Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Sciences; (2) a recognized/ licensed medical professional; (3) having a Ph.D. is an advantage; (4) degree for Experimental Test Pilots and/or Test Engineer.

Additionally, there are also requirements for relevant work experience and the ability to speak in English.

As for applicants interested to apply as an ESA Astronaut (With a Physical Disability), the following disabilities have been noted in the job listing: (1) lower limb deficiency, such as those from amputation or congenital conditions; (2) a difference in the length of legs ; (3) short stature, specifically standing below 130 cm.


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