The European Astronaut Corps is a unit of the European Space Agency (ESA) that selects, trains, and provides astronauts as crew members on U.S. and Russian space missions. As of Nov 2014, 24 ESA astronauts are now able to go board the ISS. There are currently 47 members of the Corps, 26 currently active. The European Astronaut Corps is based at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. They can be assigned to various projects both in Europe (at ESTEC, for instance) or elsewhere in the world, at NASA Johnson Space Center or Star City.
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According to French weekly Air & Cosmos, only six astronauts (Fuglesang, Schlegel, Nespoli, Eyharts, De Winne and Kuipers) remain available for immediate flight. Vittori and Clervoy are on temporary leave or assigned to other duties. The head of human spaceflight at ESA recommended that at least four more astronauts (plus four other in reserve) should be added after the launch of Columbus in February 2008.
On April 3, 2008, ESA director general Jean-Jacques Dordain announced that recruiting for a new class of European astronauts will start in the near future. The selection program for 4 new astronauts was launched on May 19, 2008 with applications due by 16 June 2008 so that final selection would be due spring 2009. Almost 10 000 people registered as astronaut candidates 2008-06-18. 8413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. From these 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing which led to 192 candidates in 2008-09-24. After two stage psychological tests 80 candidates will continue to medical evaluation in January/February 2009. 40 or so candidates will head to a formal interviews to select the four new members to European Astronaut Corps.
The funding by NASA and Russia of the International Space Station is currently planned to end in 2028. The role of European astronauts beyond this point is unclear. Some speculation suggests ESA's involvement with Nasa's Orion programme may give European astronauts a seat aboard the Orion spacecraft, although this has not been announced.
There are fourteen active members of the European Astronaut Corps.
||Time in space
|Jean-François Clervoy||France||1992 ESA Group||28d 03h 05m||STS-66, STS-84, STS-103|
|Samantha Cristoforetti||Italy||2009 ESA Group||199d 16h 43m||Soyuz TMA-15M, Expedition 42, Expedition 43|
|Léopold Eyharts||France||1998 ESA Group||68d 21h 31m||Soyuz TM-27, Soyuz TM-26, STS-122, Expedition 16, STS-123|
|Christer Fuglesang||Sweden||1992 ESA Group||26d 17h 38m||STS-116, STS-128|
|Alexander Gerst||Germany||2009 ESA Group||165d 08h 01m||Soyuz TMA-13M Expedition 40, Expedition 41, Planned: Soyuz MS-09 Expedition 56/57|
|André Kuipers||Netherlands||1998 ESA Group||203d 15h 51m||Soyuz TMA-4, Soyuz TMA-3, Soyuz TMA-03M, Expedition 30, Expedition 31|
|Andreas Mogensen||Denmark||2009 ESA Group||9d 20h 14m||Soyuz TMA-18M/Soyuz TMA-16M|
|Paolo A. Nespoli||Italy||1998 ESA Group||313d 02h 36m||STS-120, Soyuz TMA-20, Expedition 26, Soyuz MS-05, Expedition 52/53|
|Luca Parmitano||Italy||2009 ESA Group||166d 6h 19m||Soyuz TMA-09M, Expedition 36, Expedition 37, Planned :Soyuz MS-13, Expedition 60/61|
|Timothy Peake||United Kingdom||2009 ESA Group||185d 22h 11m||Soyuz TMA-19M (Expedition 46/47)|
|Thomas Pesquet||France||2009 ESA Group||196d 17h 49m||Soyuz MS-03 (Expedition 50/51)|
|Hans Schlegel||Germany||1998 ESA Group||22d 18h 02m||STS-55, STS-122|
|Roberto Vittori||Italy||1998 ESA Group||35d 12h 26m||Soyuz TM-34, Soyuz TM-33, Soyuz TMA-6, Soyuz TMA-5, STS-134|
|Matthias Maurer||Germany||2015 ESA Astronaut Corps||No flight||No missions|
All of the current members of the corps have flown to space, except Maurer. All flown members except Jean-François Clervoy have visited the ISS. Paolo Nespoli is the member of the corps who has spent the most time in space, more than 313 days. The European record for total time spent in space belongs to former German astronaut Thomas Reiter with 350 days. The oldest is Hans Schlegel, born in 1951. The corps currently includes one woman, Samantha Cristoforetti, who formerly held the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman. Only two other women have been members of the corps. Marianne Merchez who never flew, and Claudie Haigneré who resigned after two missions to start a political career in France.
There are thirteen former members of the ESA.
* No space missions
Astronauts from the European Astronaut Corps participated in several NASA Space Shuttle missions before the ISS era, in particular as Spacelab Payload Specialists. (This list excludes missions to Mir or the ISS)
European astronauts to have visited the ISS are:
|Astronaut||Agency||Mission||Launch||Return||Expedition||Launch Date||Return Date||Note|
|Umberto Guidoni||ESA||STS-100||STS-100||Expedition 2||19 Apr 2001||1 May 2001||Flight 6A with MPLM Raffaello|
|Claudie Haigneré||CNES||Andromède||Soyuz TM-33||Soyuz TM-32||Expedition 3||21 Oct 2001||31 Oct 2001|
|Roberto Vittori||ESA||Marco Polo||Soyuz TM-34||Soyuz TM-33||Expedition 4||25 Apr 2002||5 May 2002|
|Philippe Perrin||CNES||STS-111||STS-111||Expedition 4, 5||5 Jun 2002||19 Jun 2002||ISS Assembly Flight UF-2|
|Frank De Winne||ESA||Odissea||Soyuz TMA-1||Soyuz TM-34||Expedition 5||30 Oct 2002||10 Nov 2002|
|Pedro Duque||ESA||Cervantes||Soyuz TMA-3||Soyuz TMA-2||Expedition 7, 8||18 Oct 2003||28 Oct 2003|
|André Kuipers||ESA||DELTA||Soyuz TMA-4||Soyuz TMA-3||Expedition 8, Expedition 9||19 Apr 2004||30 Apr 2004|
|Roberto Vittori||ESA||Eneide||Soyuz TMA-6||Soyuz TMA-5||Expedition 10, 11||15 Apr 2005||24 Apr 2005|
|Thomas Reiter||ESA||Astrolab||STS-121||STS-116||Expedition 13, 14||4 Jul 2006||22 Dec 2006||ISS Assembly Flight ULF 1.1|
|Christer Fuglesang||ESA||Celsius||STS-116||STS-116||Expedition 14||10 Dec 2006||22 Dec 2006||ISS Assembly Flight 12A.1|
|Paolo Nespoli||ESA||Esperia||STS-120||STS-120||Expedition 16||23 Oct 2007||7 Nov 2007||ISS Assembly Flight 10A|
|Hans Schlegel||ESA||Columbus||STS-122||STS-122||Expedition 16||7 Feb 2008||20 Feb 2008||ISS Assembly Flight 1E|
|Léopold Eyharts||ESA||Columbus||STS-122||STS-123||Expedition 16||7 Feb 2008||27 Mar 2008||ISS Assembly Flight 1E|
|Frank De Winne||ESA||OasISS||Soyuz TMA-15||Soyuz TMA-15||Expedition 20, 21||27 May 2009||1 Dec 2009||First European commander of the ISS, Expedition 21|
|Christer Fuglesang||ESA||AlISSé||STS-128||STS-128||Expedition 20||29 Aug 2009||12 Sep 2009||ISS Assembly Flight 17A|
|Paolo Nespoli||ESA||MagISStra||Soyuz TMA-20||Soyuz TMA-20||Expedition 26, 27||15 Dec 2010||24 May 2011|
|Roberto Vittori||ESA||DAMA||STS-134||STS-134||Expedition 27, 28||16 May 2011||1 Jun 2011|
|André Kuipers||ESA||PromISSe||Soyuz TMA-03M||Soyuz TMA-03M||Expedition 30, 31||21 Dec 2011||1 Jul 2012|
|Luca Parmitano||ESA||Volare||Soyuz TMA-09M||Soyuz TMA-09M||Expedition 36, 37||28 May 2013||11 Nov 2013|
|Alexander Gerst||ESA||Blue Dot||Soyuz TMA-13M||Soyuz TMA-13M||Expedition 40, 41||28 May 2014||10 Nov 2014|
|Samantha Cristoforetti||ESA||Futura||Soyuz TMA-15M||Soyuz TMA-15M||Expedition 42, 43||23 Nov 2014||11 Jun 2015||Longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut|
|Andreas Mogensen||ESA||IrISS||Soyuz TMA-18M||Soyuz TMA-16M||Expedition 44||2 Sep 2015||12 Sep 2015|
|Timothy Peake||ESA||Principia||Soyuz TMA-19M||Soyuz TMA-19M||Expedition 46, 47||15 Dec 2015||18 June 2016|
|Thomas Pesquet||ESA||Proxima||Soyuz MS-03||Soyuz MS-03||Expedition 50, 51||17 Nov 2016||16 May 2017|
|Paolo Nespoli||ESA||Vita||Soyuz MS-05||Soyuz MS-05||Expedition 52, 53||28 July 2017||14 December 2017|
|Alexander Gerst||ESA||Horizons||Soyuz MS-09||Soyuz MS-09||Expedition 56, 57||6 June 2018||Dec 2018||Gerst will become the second European commander of the ISS|
|Luca Parmitano||ESA||Expedition 60, 61||Parmitano will become the third European commander of the ISS|