The Final 8413

According to the European Space Agency (ESA) website, they received 8413 applications to become astronauts, of which mine was one. Considering they’ve not recruited for 16 years, I’m surprised the number’s not higher, but certainly not complaining.

The French are keenest to leave this island Earth, with 1860 of those, edging out the German’s 1798. While you might expect only a handful of candidates from Luxembourg (14), it’s strange to see only 35 Danes apply. I’m apparently one of 822 Brits – of whom almost 700 are men.

How can it be that so few people are keen to see this view for themselves?

The view of Earth from space, courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center (NASA-JSC)

Image courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center (NASA-JSC)

What happens now? ESA have said they’ll contact me by early August to say if I pass to the next stage – a whole week of psychometric and medical tests. When I’ve taken tests like these before, the response normally comes back saying “you’re the sort of person who enjoys taking psychometric tests”, which is very true, so I’m even more eager to get through.
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~ by keithmansfield on July 9, 2008.

3 Responses to “The Final 8413”

  1. What sort of person is the sort of person who likes to take psychometric tests? is that a category all in itself?

  2. The question really is whether astronauts are the kind of people who like taking psychometric tests? Historically, I’d say that’s not the case. Most of the Apollo astronauts were test pilots and the like – who would probably have hated to sit down and take a ‘head test’. But let’s hope today’s space agencies are looking for a broader selection of recruits!

  3. While it might not be a category all in itself, I promise it’s sometimes there in the smallprint. And as for the Apollo guys, I heard a story they were specifically selected for their lack of imagination so they wouldn’t diverge in any way from the mission plan – not ideal if you’re a children’s author, but I hope times have changed!

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