About 22 thousand people have applied for the competition of the European Space Agency (ESA) for the search for astronauts, of which 307 are Finns, according to the Ministry of Employment and Economy of Finland.
The ESA competition was held from March 31 to June 18.
“307 Finns have applied to take part in the search for an astronaut from the European Space Agency. Of the Finnish applicants, 59 were women and 248 were men. In total, 22 thousand people applied. It was also the first time a person with a disability had the opportunity to apply and then become an astronaut, ”the message says.
The ESA astronaut selection process consists of six key stages, the first of which ended on June 18, and the names of the selected astronauts will be announced at the end of 2022.
The Finnish ministry clarifies that “the choice of a Finn as a professional cosmonaut is unlikely, since Finland is not currently participating in the required funding program.”
However, Finnish candidates can become “safety” astronauts who go through the same selection process as professional astronauts and are considered equally qualified for space travel, but are hired by ESA only for a specific mission, such as a mission initiated by an ESA member state.
Finland has been a member of the European Space Agency since 1995. Finland’s share in the ESA budget is 27-28 million euros per year. Most of this amount is returned to Finland in the form of ESA orders for Finnish companies and research institutes, the ministry said.