May 20, 2009

ESA names its six newest astronauts

The European Space Agency says it has selected six people to become Europe's newest astronauts.

The new recruits will join the European Astronaut Corps and start their training to prepare for future missions to the International Space Station, and beyond.

The new astronauts and their nationality are Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian; Alexander Gerst, German; Andreas Mogensen, Danish; Luca Parmitano, Italian; Timothy Peake, British; and Thomas Pesquet, French.

They were selected following psychological, medical and professional screening that started with 8,413 valid applications. The six are the first new recruits to join the European Astronaut Corps since 1992, the ESA said.

Europe's new astronauts will start their basic training at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. The ESA said the six astronauts will join a new class of international astronauts who will be prepared for future space missions from 2013 onwards.