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 September 2019, the corps had 13 active members, able to board the International Space Station (ISS). 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.
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. The selection program for 4 new astronauts was launched on May 19, 2008 with applications due by 16 June 2008 so that final selection would be due spring 2009. 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 led 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.
Future of the European Astronaut Corps
After the ISS
The funding by NASA and Russia of the International Space Station is currently planned to end in 2028. The role of European astronauts beyond this point is unclear. Some speculation suggests ESA's involvement with NASA's Orion programme may give European astronauts a seat aboard the Orion spacecraft, although this has not been announced.
There are thirteen active members of the European Astronaut Corps.
All of the current members of the corps have flown to space, except Maurer. All flown members except Jean-François Clervoy have visited the ISS. German astronaut Alexander Gerst is the member of the corps who has accumulated the most time in space with 362 days 1 hour and 50 minutes. He is the record holder for all the European astronauts in history. The oldest is Hans Schlegel, born in 1951. The corps currently includes one woman, Samantha Cristoforetti, who formerly held the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman. 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.
Maurizio Cheli Pedro Duque Reinhold Ewald Christer Fuglesang Umberto Guidoni Claudie Haigneré née André-Deshays Jean-Pierre Haigneré Ulf Merbold Marianne Merchez (did not fly) Ernst Messerschmid Paolo Nespoli Claude Nicollier Wubbo Ockels Philippe Perrin Thomas Reiter Gerhard Thiele Michel Tognini Frank de Winne
European astronauts outside of ESA
NASA trained and flew astronauts from allied nations on the Space Shuttle, especially as payload specialists for scientific missions such as Spacelab. Prior to the foundation of the ESA astronaut corps, both the French CNES and the German DLR had selected their own rosters of astronauts, notably in preparation for the introduction of the ISS. The following people flew on various Shuttle missions.
Patrick Baudry Jean-Jacques Favier Dirk Frimout Reinhard Furrer Leonid Kadeniuk Franco Malerba Ulrich Walter
- Other European astronauts who flew on the Space Shuttle were transferred to the ESA astronaut corps, and are listed above.
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
Missions to the Mir space stations
- Jean-Loup Chrétien - Aragatz (1988)
- Helen Sharman - Project Juno (1991)
- Franz Viehböck - Austromir '91 (1991)
- Klaus-Dietrich Flade - Mir '92 (1992)
- Michel Tognini - Antarès (1992)
- Jean-Pierre Haigneré - Altair (1993)
- Ulf Merbold - Euromir '94 (1994)
- Thomas Reiter - Euromir '95 (1995)
- Claudie Haigneré - Cassiopée (1996)
- Reinhold Ewald - Mir '97 (1997)
- Jean-Loup Chrétien - STS-86 (1997)
- Léopold Eyharts - Pégase (1998)
- Jean-Pierre Haigneré - Perseus (1999)
- Ivan Bella - Stefanik (1999)
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|
|ESA||STS-100||STS-100||Expedition 2||19 Apr 2001||1 May 2001||Flight 6A with MPLM Raffaello, visited Expedition 2 crew|
|CNES||Andromède||Soyuz TM-33||Soyuz TM-32||Expedition 3||21 Oct 2001||31 Oct 2001||Visited Expedition 3 crew|
|ESA||Marco Polo||Soyuz TM-34||Soyuz TM-33||Expedition 4||25 Apr 2002||5 May 2002||Visited Expedition 4 crew|
|CNES||STS-111||STS-111||Expedition 4/5||5 Jun 2002||19 Jun 2002||ISS Assembly Flight UF-2, launched with Expedition 5 crew and landed with Expedition 6 crew|
|ESA||Odissea||Soyuz TMA-1||Soyuz TM-34||Expedition 5||30 Oct 2002||10 Nov 2002||Visited Expedition 5 crew|
|ESA||Cervantes||Soyuz TMA-3||Soyuz TMA-2||Expedition 7/8||18 Oct 2003||28 Oct 2003||Launched with Expedition 8 crew landed with Expedition 67 crew,|
|ESA||DELTA||Soyuz TMA-4||Soyuz TMA-3||Expedition 8/9||19 Apr 2004||30 Apr 2004||Launnched with Expedition 8 crew, landed with Expedition 8 crew|
|ESA||Eneide||Soyuz TMA-6||Soyuz TMA-5||Expedition 10/11||15 Apr 2005||24 Apr 2005||Launched with Expedition 11 crew, landed with Expedition 10 crew|
|ESA||Astrolab||STS-121||STS-116||Expedition 13/14||4 Jul 2006||22 Dec 2006||ISS Assembly Flight ULF 1.1, first European to live on the ISS as Flight Engineer on Expedition 13 and 14|
|ESA||Celsius||STS-116||STS-116||Expedition 14||10 Dec 2006||22 Dec 2006||ISS Assembly Flight 12A.1, visited Expedition 14 crew|
|ESA||Esperia||STS-120||STS-120||Expedition 16||23 Oct 2007||7 Nov 2007||ISS Assembly Flight 10A, visited Expedition 16 crew|
|ESA||Columbus||STS-122||STS-122||Expedition 16||7 Feb 2008||20 Feb 2008||ISS Assembly Flight 1E, visited Expedition 16 crew|
|ESA||Columbus||STS-122||STS-123||Expedition 16||7 Feb 2008||27 Mar 2008||ISS Assembly Flight 1E, second European to live on the ISS as Flight Engineer on Expedition 16|
|ESA||OasISS||Soyuz TMA-15||Soyuz TMA-15||Expedition 20/21||27 May 2009||1 Dec 2009||Flight Engineer on Expedition 20, first European to command the ISS as commander of Expedition 21|
|ESA||AlISSé||STS-128||STS-128||Expedition 20||29 Aug 2009||12 Sep 2009||ISS Assembly Flight 17A, visited Expedition 20 crew|
|ESA||MagISStra||Soyuz TMA-20||Soyuz TMA-20||Expedition 26/27||15 Dec 2010||24 May 2011||Flight Engineer on Expedition 26 and 27|
|ESA||DAMA||STS-134||STS-134||Expedition 27/28||16 May 2011||1 Jun 2011||Visited Expedition 27 and 28|
|ESA||PromISSe||Soyuz TMA-03M||Soyuz TMA-03M||Expedition 30/31||21 Dec 2011||1 Jul 2012||Flight Engineer on Expedition 30 and 31|
|ESA||Volare||Soyuz TMA-09M||Soyuz TMA-09M||Expedition 36/37||28 May 2013||11 Nov 2013||Flight Engineer on Expedition 36 and 37, first member of the 2009 ESA astronaut class to fly|
|ESA||Blue Dot||Soyuz TMA-13M||Soyuz TMA-13M||Expedition 40/41||28 May 2014||10 Nov 2014||Flight Engineer on Expedition 40 and 41|
|ESA||Futura||Soyuz TMA-15M||Soyuz TMA-15M||Expedition 42/43||23 Nov 2014||11 Jun 2015||Flight Engineer on Expedition 42 and 43, Longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut|
|ESA||IrISS||Soyuz TMA-18M||Soyuz TMA-16M||Expedition 44||2 Sep 2015||12 Sep 2015||Visited Expedition 44 crew, first Danish astronaut|
|ESA||Principia||Soyuz TMA-19M||Soyuz TMA-19M||Expedition 46/47||15 Dec 2015||18 June 2016||Flight Engineer on Expedition 46 and 47|
|ESA||Proxima||Soyuz MS-03||Soyuz MS-03||Expedition 50/51||17 Nov 2016||16 May 2017||Flight Engineer on Expedition 50 and 51|
|ESA||Vita||Soyuz MS-05||Soyuz MS-05||Expedition 52/53||28 July 2017||14 December 2017||Flight Engineer on Expedition 52 and 53|
|ESA||Horizons||Soyuz MS-09||Soyuz MS-09||Expedition 56/57||6 June 2018||20 December 2018||Flight Engineer on Expedition 56, second European to command the ISS as commander of Expedition 57|
|ESA||Beyond||Soyuz MS-13||Soyuz MS-13||Expedition 60/61||20 July 2019||February 2020 (Planned)||Flight Engineer on Expedition 60, commander of Expedition 61|
- Clark, Stephen (3 April 2008). "Europe's new cargo freighter safely docks to space station". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
- "Closing in on new astronauts". ESA. 24 September 2008. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
- "ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano to be Space Station commander on his next flight". ESA. May 31, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- "European astronauts in new functions". ESA. 2 August 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
- "European Manned Spaceflight Patches" (PDF). ESA. 29 October 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "The iriss name and logos". ESA. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
- "ESA mission name for astronaut Tim Peake: Principia F". ESA. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
- "Thomas Pesquet closer to space with mission name Proxima". ESA. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
- "Third spaceflight for astronaut Paolo Nespoli". ESA. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.