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UK citizens chance to go to space

HAVE you ever wanted to experience life in space? Or become the next Tim Peake? Now there is an opportunity for people from the UK are able to apply to join the lucky few who can exploring space.

The UK Space Agency has put out a call for people who are calm under pressure, fit and healthy and want to reach new career heights – literally and figuratively – to get in touch to apply to be an astronaut.

The role would be as part of the European Space Agency and it’s the first time since 2008 that they have opened up new positions.

Interested candidates can be of any age and walk of life.

Those who are successful will undergo an intensive period of training, including a three-week course in caving and a course in practical geology. Once the training is complete, they will take their first flights into space on a deployment to the International Space Station. It will be likely these astronauts will be on the next missions to the moon which are due to take place in the late 2020s and 2030s.

There is also a special call by the European Space Agency for people with physical disabilities to apply to the astronaut reserve. It is a pilot project that aims to open up the astronaut career path to those who would have previously been excluded from space flight. This includes those with lower limb deficiencies or who are considered to be of short stature and meet other criteria.

The agency will be investing in the necessary adaptations of space hardware which will allow these people – who aside from the physical disabilities would be perfectly qualified – to serve as crew members on a safe space mission.

The UK Space Agency believes the next professional UK astronaut will be selected through this recruitment drive.

There is no experience of the space sector needed but applicants will need a minimum of a master’s degree in Natural Sciences, Medicine, Engineering, Mathematics or Computer Sciences to be considered, or they need to be qualified as an experimental test pilot.

It is essential the candidates are fluent in English. Candidates must also be calm under pressure and be willing to participate in life science experiments – past experiments have included studying the effects of microgravity on human bone and tissue.

Simon Hart, secretary of state for Wales, said: “Many people will have hoped for an opportunity to train as an astronaut and this recruitment drive will allow people from across Wales and the UK to take the first steps towards fulfilling that dream.

“The UK Government is backing our space sector and I’m sure the successful candidates for space missions will continue and enhance the work of those who came before them.”

Amanda Solloway, the science minister, said: “Becoming an astronaut is a dream for many, and Tim Peake’s historic mission to space in 2015 showed millions of Brits that it can become a reality, while putting the UK firmly on the map as a leading space-faring nation.

“With the UK space sector receiving more government backing than ever before, it’s time for a new generation of British astronauts to answer this call as we continue working with our European partners to push the boundaries of science and exploration even further.”

British ESA astronaut, Tim Peake, said: “Over the next few years and decades, space exploration will become even more exciting as we travel back to the Moon and even further to Mars. For space missions to succeed, they require highly motivated people from diverse backgrounds to combine their skills and work as a team.

“The next generation of UK citizens have so much to offer the world, and so I would encourage anyone who has dreamt of pushing the boundaries of what is possible to take this opportunity to be part of ESA’s future cohort of space pioneers.”

The position of Astronaut is just one possible career path in the UK space industry, which employs close to 42,000 people in various roles from aerospace engineers, satellite technicians, research scientists to entrepreneurs and lawyers. Anyone who meets the criteria to be an astronaut is invited to submit a complete application online through the ESA careers website.

Applications will open on March 31 and stay open for two months until May 28. There will then be a 17-month process of screening, psychological, practical, and psychometric testing, medical selections and two interview selections until the final applicants will be appointed and announced in October 2022.

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