Stating that the sheer volume means that the entire process “simply takes more time than initially foreseen,” the agency’s head of space medicine, Guillaume Weerts, is asking wannabe astronauts to be patient and wait for the invitation to arrive.
“We really want to thank everyone who did put themselves forward. We fully understand how important these applications are to candidates, and we are working to let everyone who applied know the outcome of their application as soon as possible,” the official said.
That would be an invitation to a full day of testing at an undisclosed facility in Europe, where probably a large number of candidates will be rejected. ESA estimates it will take until at least November to notify all these people of the outcome of their application.
But that is only the beginning, as the entire process, at the end of which ESA will know the names of its future astronauts, is expected to take at least one and a half years.
As space exploration moves into a new, more rapid phase of development, ESA is looking to create something it calls an astronaut reserve from where to source the people it needs for its future missions.
No exact number on how many astronauts the agency will select at the end of this process was given.