Apply now to become an ESA astronaut


Applications are now open to become an astronaut at the European Space Agency and all qualified candidates are encouraged to put themselves forward.

Two vacancy notices have been published for ESA Astronaut and ESA Astronaut (with a physical disability). Applications must be submitted via ESA’s recruiting website before 28 May 2021 to be considered for selection.

Before applying we strongly encourage candidates to read the ESA Astronaut Applicant Handbook which provides all necessary information.  

Any questions? Read our FAQs for more information. Any specific enquiries concerning your application that are not answered by these FAQs should be sent to astronaut.recruitment@esa.int.

Who are we looking for?

ESA is looking for candidates from a large variety of profiles and backgrounds for two vacancies: Astronaut and Astronaut (with a physical disability).

For both vacancies, the minimum requirements are:

  • Citizenship of an ESA Member State or Associate Member.
  • Minimum of a master’s degree in natural sciences, medicine, engineering, mathematics, or computer sciences or a degree as an experimental test pilot and/or test engineer from an official experimental test pilot school.
  • At least three years of relevant professional experience after graduation.
  • Fluency in English. Good knowledge of another foreign language and any other additional language is a plus.
  • Flexibility to cope with irregular working hours, frequent travel, and long absences from home, family and regular social life.
  • Ability to remain calm under pressure.
  • Willingness to participate in life science experiments.

To be eligible for the Astronaut vacancy, applicants must submit a class 2 medical certificate issued by an aviation medical examiner that shows they are medically qualified for a private pilot licence (PPL).

To apply for the Astronaut (with a physical disability) vacancy, applicants must submit a standard medical certificate and medical file with details of the disability. To ensure that the successful candidate is capable of fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of an ESA astronaut, we have limited eligibility to the following physical disabilities:

  • Lower limb deficiency (e.g. due to amputation or congenital limb deficiency) as follows:
    – Single or double foot deficiency through the ankle;
    – Single or double leg deficiency below the knee.
  • Leg length difference (shortened limbs at birth or as a result of trauma).
  • Short stature (<130 cm).

Learn everything you need to know to apply for the Astronaut vacancy and Astronaut (with a physical disability) vacancy in the Astronaut Selection Handbook.

The Parastronaut Fly! Feasibility Project

ESA’s parastronaut feasibility project is a global first that aims to begin removing barriers for people with disabilities to carry out a professional space mission.

Read more about the Parastronaut Fly! Feasibility Project and find full information in the Astronaut Applicant Handbook.

How to apply

Applications for the two vacancy notices, Astronaut and Astronaut (with a physical disability) are accepted from 31 March 2021 until 28 May 2021. Only applications made online through the recruiting website and submitted before the deadline of 28 May 2021 can be considered.

Read the ESA Astronaut Applicant Handbook for more information.

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