back to article European Space Agency whittles wannabe astronauts down from 23,000 to 1,391

The European Space Agency (ESA) has completed stage one of its latest astronaut selection process, with 1,362 astronaut and 29 parastronaut applicants making the cut. The group, which started as 23,000 wannabes, will now be invited to participate in a battery of psychological, performance, and personality tests followed by …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "opening up applications to would-be astronauts with a physical disability"

    In space, I really don't see how that can be a problem. Legs are actually a hindrance, if I'm not mistaken, since you mostly need your hands to get places.

    The main use of legs is for physical training to try to counteract the effects of freefall. I wonder how the ESA is going to manage integrating that part into a parastronauts' physical training.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: "opening up applications to would-be astronauts with a physical disability"

      Oh, so that's what "parastronaut" means. I was wondering if it was somebody who jumped out halfway up (para as in parachute).

      Not to be funny, but if they make the grade, they're an astronaut, plain and simple. 'cos when they're floating around in a tin can, I doubt anybody is going to give a crap if some body part isn't quite right so long as that person can fulfill their part of the mission.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: "opening up applications to would-be astronauts with a physical disability"

        The modern parachute was invented in the late 18th century by Louis-Sébastien Lenormand in France, who made the first recorded public jump in 1783. Lenormand also sketched his device beforehand.

        Two years later, in 1785, Lenormand coined the word "parachute" by hybridizing an Italian prefix para, an imperative form of parare = to avert, defend, resist, guard, shield or shroud, from paro = to parry, and chute, the French word for fall, to describe the aeronautical device's real function.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "opening up applications to would-be astronauts with a physical disability"

          Well, I haven't known Lenormand personally, but I'm pretty sure his choice was Latin actually, from the Latin word "paro" ("parry", "counter").

          Lots of french words use "para-" in this meaning of "counter": "parapluie" (counter-rain, umbrella), "paratonnerre" (counter-thunder, lightning rod), "parasismique" (counter-earthquake, earthquake resistant), "parasol" (counter-sun, sun umbrella), "paravent" (counter-wind, screen), and I certainly forget some.

          An other meaning comes from the Greek prefix "para-" indicating "beside" or "side by side" which gives us "paramilitaire" (small military), "paramedical" (small medics), "parapharmacie" ("small pharmacy", ie. toiletries, vitamins and such), and so on.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: "opening up applications to would-be astronauts with a physical disability"

      The legs are often used to "anchor" a person while he/she performs various tasks with the hands. I wonder how they would handle that for a disabled person missing (use of) a leg for instance.

  2. Dr_N Silver badge
    Alien

    Could there be a South Korean TV show somewhere in this?

    The Silent Sea? (고요의 바다)

    1. Jim Mitchell
      Alien

      Re: Could there be a South Korean TV show somewhere in this?

      I watched that on Netflix. I regret it.

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch

        Re: Could there be a South Korean TV show somewhere in this?

        I also watched it, but I found it quite enjoyable. Super obvious that they're mining various western sci-fi tropes (too many to mention), but I treat that more as "homage" than "rip-off". I'm sure they did a "Right Stuff" part at some point too... Anyway, despite all that, I thought it stood by itself in terms of story-telling.

        For the OP, nice subversion of the obvious 10-legged diversion reference...

        1. Jim Mitchell

          Re: Could there be a South Korean TV show somewhere in this?

          I think I would have liked it more it it didn't tell a two hour story over six hours or so. Part of those excess 4 hours was a "homage" to past shows that have had to much footage of people running down anonymous space station corridors (is that a Doctor Who thing?).

  3. martinusher Silver badge

    Should be easy to find suitable candidates

    I'd have thought that the criteria for astronaut is exactly the same as the criteria for submariner. Although nuclear submarines are a bit more roomy that the older diesel electrics the environment still favors shorter people who don't suffer from claustrophobia, don't mind being cut off from the world for months at a time with only fitful communications to it and are comfortable with technology keeping them alive. Submariners have to be good at getting along with others and they need to be flexible about their living conditions and what tasks they need to do.

    Both groups operate in a hostile environment that will instantly kill them if the hull is breached or they're outside without proper protections.

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