Yesterday, after 13 years, the ESA (European Space Agency) announced the new generation of astronauts. From more than 22 500 applicants, the ESA has chosen 17 new astronauts for this new 2022 class of astronauts. Among them are five career astronauts, eleven members of an astronaut reserve, and one astronaut with a disability.
Who are these five new career astronauts?
Sophie Adenot, from France.
Born in 1982, she graduated in spacecraft and aircraft flight dynamics at ISAE-SUPAERO in Toulouse and completed an MSc in human factors engineering at MIT in Boston.
In 2004, after finishing her studies, she worked as a helicopter cockpit design research engineer at Airbus Helicopter. She then joined the French Air Force in 2005 and graduated in 2018 as a helicopter test pilot from the Empire Test Pilots School in the UK.
In 2022, Sophie was awarded the French National Order of Merit (Chevalier) as “lieutenante-colonelle” for 17 years of service.
Sophie is fluent in French and English but also speaks Spanish, Russian, and German.
She is passionated about outdoor sports such as skiing and mountain biking and is a certified yoga teacher.
Pablo Álvarez Fernández, from Spain.
Born in 1988, he graduated in aeronautical engineering from the University of León in Spain and completed a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Warsaw University of Technology in 2011.
Between 2011 and 2017, he worked as a structural engineer for Airbus and Safran in Spain, the UK, and France.
From 2017 to 2020, he worked as an ExoMars rover mechanical architect at Airbus Defence and Space in the UK. Before being selected as an astronaut candidate, Pablo was working as a Project Manager for Airbus operations in Spain.
Pablo is fluent in Spanish, English, French, and Polish.
Rosemary Coogan, from the UK.
Born in 1991, she completed two master’s degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Durham, UK. In 2019, she graduated with a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Sussex, UK.
After finishing her doctorate, she studied galaxies with astronomical data from space- and ground-based telescopes at the Max Planck Institute for Extra-terrestrial physics in Munich, Germany.
In 2022, she worked as a research fellow in space science at the French space agency CNES in Paris for missions such as EUCLID and James Webb Space Telescope observations.
Rosemary is fluent in English, and French and also speaks German.
She enjoys rowing, scuba diving, hiking, cycling, kayaking, and yoga as well as spending time with her friends and family.
Raphaël Liégeois, from Belgium.
Born in 1988, he graduated both in biomedical engineering at the University of Liège in Belgium and as “Ingérieur Centralien” at the École Centrale Paris. Later, he completed a master’s degree in fundamental physics at the University Paris-Sud Orsay in France in 2010. Finally, he completed a Doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Liège in Belgium.
From 2015 to 2017, he completed a post-doctoral research in new neuroimaging markers of neurodegenerative diseases at the National University of Singapore. Then, he completed a senior post-doctoral research developing dynamic models of brain function at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland until 2021.
Since 2021, he has been working as a Research and Teaching Fellow at the University of Geneva and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland.
Raphaël is fluent in French, English, and Dutch.
He enjoys reading poetry and biographies and is active in several sports.
Marco Sieber, from Switzerland.
Born in 1989, he graduated as Doctor of Medicine from the University of Bern, Switzerland in 2015. In 2021, he received his diploma in pre-clinical emergency and rescue medicine (SGNOR).
From 2015 to 2017, he worked as a general surgery, traumatology, and intensive care unit resident in Interlaken, Switzerland. In 2018, he became a chief medical officer with the Swiss Army for Kosovo. Later, he worked as an emergency medicine resident at the University Hospital of Bern until 2019.
Between 2019 and 2021, he came back to Interlaken as an anesthesiology resident.
Marco is fluent in German and Swiss German and also speaks English and French.
He enjoys outdoor and adventure sports, such as skydiving and paragliding for instance.
Who are the members of the Astronaut Reserve and who is the Parastronaut?
The reserve pool of astronauts is composed of eleven members such as Meganne Christian from the UK, Anthea Comellini and Andrea Patassa from Italy, Sara García Alonso from Spain, Carmen Possnig from Austria, Arnaud Prost from France, Amelie Schoenenwald from Germany, Aleš Svoboda from the Czech Republic, Sławosz Uznański from Poland, Marcus Wandt from Sweden, and Nicola Winter from Germany.
The members will start basic training in case there is a flight opportunity for them. Meanwhile, they remain with their current jobs while receiving a consultancy contract and basic support.
Finally, one astronaut candidate with a physical disability has been selected. His name is John McFall, he comes from the UK and will take part in the Parastronaut Feasibility Project. This project aims to develop options for the inclusion of astronauts with physical disabilities in possible future missions.
What’s next for the five new career astronauts?
In Spring 2023, the five career astronaut candidates will be joining the ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. As the International Space Station partners specified, the ESA astronaut class of 2022 will be trained to the highest level of standards.