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European Astronaut Corps

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European Astronaut Corps

The European Astronaut Corps is a unit of the European Space Agency (ESA) that selects, trains, and provides astronauts as crew members on U.S. and Russian space missions. As of Nov 2014, 24 ESA astronauts have flown in space, including two women. There are currently 15 active members of the Corps. The European Astronaut Corps is based at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. They can be assigned to various projects both in Europe (at ESTEC, for instance) or elsewhere in the world, at NASA Johnson Space Center or Star City.

History

Selection of new astronauts in 2009

According to French weekly Air & Cosmos, only six astronauts (Fuglesang, Schlegel, Nespoli, Eyharts, De Winne and Kuipers) remain available for immediate flight. Vittori and Clervoy are on temporary leave or assigned to other duties. The head of human spaceflight at ESA recommended that at least four more astronauts (plus four other in reserve) should be added after the launch of Columbus in February 2008.

On April 3, 2008, ESA director general Jean-Jacques Dordain announced that recruiting for a new class of European astronauts will start in the near future.[1] The selection program for 4 new astronauts was launched on May 19, 2008 with applications due by 16 June 2008[2] so that final selection would be due spring 2009.[3] Almost 10 000 people registered as astronaut candidates 2008-06-18. 8413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. From these 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing which lead to 192 candidates in 2008-09-24. After two stage psychological tests 80 candidates will continue to medical evaluation in January/February 2009. 40 or so candidates will head to a formal interviews to select the four new members to European Astronaut Corps.[3]

Future of the European Astronaut Corps

After the ISS

The funding by NASA and Russia of the International Space Station currently supposed to end in 2024. The role of European astronauts beyond this point are unclear. Some speculation suggests ESA's involvement with Nasa's orion program may give European astronauts a seat aboard the orion spacecraft although this has not been announced.

Members

There are fifteen active members of the European Astronaut Corps.

Name
Country
Selection
Time in space
Missions
Jean-François Clervoy  France 1992 ESA Group 28d 03h 05m STS-66, STS-84, STS-103
Samantha Cristoforetti  Italy 2009 ESA Group 199d 16h 43m Soyuz TMA-15M, Expedition 42, Expedition 43
Frank De Winne  Belgium 1998 ESA Group 198d 17h 34m Soyuz TMA-1, Soyuz TM-34, Soyuz TMA-15, Expedition 20, Expedition 21
Léopold Eyharts  France 1998 ESA Group 68d 21h 31m Soyuz TM-27, Soyuz TM-26, STS-122, Expedition 16, STS-123
Pedro Duque  Spain 1992 ESA Group 18d 18h 46m STS-95, Soyuz TMA-2, Soyuz TMA-3
Christer Fuglesang  Sweden 1992 ESA Group 26d 17h 38m STS-116, STS-128
Alexander Gerst  Germany 2009 ESA Group 165d 08h 01m Soyuz TMA-13M Expedition 40, Expedition 41
André Kuipers  Netherlands 1998 ESA Group 203d 15h 51m Soyuz TMA-4, Soyuz TMA-3, Soyuz TMA-03M, Expedition 30, Expedition 31
Andreas Mogensen  Denmark 2009 ESA Group 9d 20h 14m Soyuz TMA-18M/Soyuz TMA-16M
Paolo A. Nespoli  Italy 1998 ESA Group 174d 09h 40m STS-120, Soyuz TMA-20, Expedition 26
Luca Parmitano  Italy 2009 ESA Group 166d 6h 19m Soyuz TMA-09M, Expedition 36, Expedition 37
Timothy Peake  United Kingdom 2009 ESA Group
Thomas Pesquet  France 2009 ESA Group
Hans Schlegel  Germany 1998 ESA Group 22d 18h 02m STS-55, STS-122
Roberto Vittori  Italy 1998 ESA Group 35d 12h 26m Soyuz TM-34, Soyuz TM-33, Soyuz TMA-6, Soyuz TMA-5, STS-134

Eleven of the current members of the corps have flown in space. Of those, all except Jean-François Clervoy have visited the ISS. The two who have yet to fly have missions planned to the ISS aboard expeditions 46-47 and 50-51.

André Kuipers is the member of the corps who has spent the most time in space on a single mission, more than 203 days. The European record for total time spent in space belongs to former German astronaut Thomas Reiter with 350 days.

The youngest member of the corps is Thomas Pesquet, born in 1978, while the oldest is Hans Schlegel, born in 1951. The corps currently includes one woman, Samantha Cristoforetti. Only two other women have been members of the corps. Marianne Merchez who never flew, and Claudie Haigneré who resigned after two missions to start a political career in France. The only minority member is Léopold Eyharts, who belongs to the Basque ethnic group.

Former members

There are thirteen former members of the ESA.[4]

* No space missions

Non ESA European Astronauts

Warsaw Pact (1955-1991) Cosmonauts

Other Astronauts

Space Shuttle missions

Astronauts from the European Astronaut Corps participated in several NASA Space Shuttle missions before the ISS era, in particular as Spacelab Payload Specialists. (This list excludes missions to Mir or the ISS)

As Payload Specialists

As Mission Specialists

Missions to the Mir space stations

Astronauts from Europe have flown to Mir both on board Soyuz vehicles (as part of the Euromir programme) or on board the Space Shuttle.[5]

Missions to the International Space Station

European astronauts to have visited the ISS are:
Astronaut Agency Mission Launch Return Expedition Launch Date Return Date Note
Umberto Guidoni ESA STS-100 STS-100 Expedition 2 19 Apr 2001 1 May 2001 Flight 6A with MPLM Raffaello
Claudie Haigneré CNES Andromède Soyuz TM-33 Soyuz TM-32 Expedition 3 21 Oct 2001 31 Oct 2001
Roberto Vittori ASI Marco Polo Soyuz TM-34 Soyuz TM-33 Expedition 4 25 Apr 2002 5 May 2002
Philippe Perrin CNES STS-111 STS-111 Expedition 4, 5 5 Jun 2002 19 Jun 2002 ISS Assembly Flight UF-2
Frank De Winne ESA Odissea Soyuz TMA-1 Soyuz TM-34 Expedition 5 30 Oct 2002 10 Nov 2002
Pedro Duque ESA Cervantes Soyuz TMA-3 Soyuz TMA-2 Expedition 7, 8 18 Oct 2003 28 Oct 2003
André Kuipers ESA DELTA Soyuz TMA-4 Soyuz TMA-3 Expedition 8, Expedition 9 19 Apr 2004 30 Apr 2004
Roberto Vittori ASI Eneide Soyuz TMA-6 Soyuz TMA-5 Expedition 10, 11 15 Apr 2005 24 Apr 2005
Thomas Reiter ESA Astrolab STS-121 STS-116 Expedition 13, 14 4 Jul 2006 22 Dec 2006 ISS Assembly Flight ULF 1.1
Christer Fuglesang ESA Celsius STS-116 STS-116 Expedition 14 10 Dec 2006 22 Dec 2006 ISS Assembly Flight 12A.1
Paolo Nespoli ESA Esperia STS-120 STS-120 Expedition 16 23 Oct 2007 7 Nov 2007 ISS Assembly Flight 10A
Hans Schlegel ESA Columbus STS-122 STS-122 Expedition 16 7 Feb 2008 20 Feb 2008 ISS Assembly Flight 1E
Léopold Eyharts ESA Columbus STS-122 STS-123 Expedition 16 7 Feb 2008 27 Mar 2008 ISS Assembly Flight 1E
Frank De Winne ESA OasISS Soyuz TMA-15 Soyuz TMA-15 Expedition 20, 21 27 May 2009 1 Dec 2009 First European commander of the ISS, Expedition 21
Christer Fuglesang ESA AlISSé STS-128 STS-128 Expedition 20 29 Aug 2009 12 Sep 2009 ISS Assembly Flight 17A
Paolo Nespoli ESA MagISStra Soyuz TMA-20 Soyuz TMA-20 Expedition 26, 27 15 Dec 2010 24 May 2011
Roberto Vittori ASI DAMA STS-134 STS-134 Expedition 27, 28 16 May 2011 1 Jun 2011
André Kuipers ESA PromISSe Soyuz TMA-03M Soyuz TMA-03M Expedition 30, 31 21 Dec 2011 1 Jul 2012
Luca Parmitano ASI Volare Soyuz TMA-09M Soyuz TMA-09M Expedition 36, 37 28 May 2013 11 Nov 2013
Alexander Gerst ESA Blue Dot Soyuz TMA-13M Soyuz TMA-13M Expedition 40, 41 28 May 2014 10 Nov 2014
Samantha Cristoforetti ESA Futura Soyuz TMA-15M Soyuz TMA-15M Expedition 42, 43 23 Nov 2014 11 Jun 2015
Planned
Andreas Mogensen ESA IrISS Soyuz TMA-18M Soyuz TMA-16M Expedition 44 1 Sep 2015 11 Sep 2015
Timothy Peake ESA Principia Soyuz TMA-19M Soyuz TMA-19M Expedition 46, 47 20 Nov 2015 12 May 2016
Thomas Pesquet ESA Soyuz MS-03 Soyuz MS-03 Expedition 50, 51 30 Nov 2016 16 May 2017

See also

References

  1. ^ Spaceflight Now | ATV Mission Report | Europe's new cargo freighter safely docks to space station
  2. ^ http://www.esa.int/hr/PDF/VN_ESOC_2008_014.pdf
  3. ^ a b http://www.esa.int/esaHS/SEMZQPQ4KKF_index_0.html
  4. ^ http://www.esa.int/esaHS/ESAZ5Q0VMOC_astronauts_0.html
  5. ^

External links

  • The European Astronaut Corps
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