Space To Welcome Men From Little Green Island

Space - Ireland’s final frontier - could finally be conquered as a quest for the country's first astronaut took off today.

Applicants as prospective Irish space travellers have been invited to make their submissions to the European Space Agency (ESA).

Last month the ESA announced vacancies in its manned space programme and today has begun seeking men and women from the Emerald Isle to "boldly go where no man has gone before".

Europe’s top astronaut Gerhard Thiele was in Dublin last week to promote the recruitment drive, which has begun across Europe.

The first stage in the gruelling selection process is screening, where applicants will have to provide the same medical examination certificate as private pilots.

Those successfully selected will then be subjected to aptitude tests, including psychological and professional aptitude evaluation, behavioural and cognitive skills tests, a formal interview as potential ESA staff member, and finally another medical test and a final interview.

The ideal candidate should be competent in science and able to demonstrate an aptitude for research, have a good memory and reasoning ability, concentration, aptitude for spatial orientation, manual dexterity and should have an ability to empathise and be emotionally stable.

Successful candidates will then join the European Astronaut Corps and begin basic training at the European Astronaut Centre (ESA-EAC) in Cologne, Germany.

Candidates from all 17 member states – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are welcome to apply.

The final appointments will be officially announced in 2009.

Further information: www.esa.int


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