Andreas Mogensen, a Danish aerospace engineer, has been chosen by the European Space Agency (ESA) to join the elite European Space Agency Astronaut Corps. Mogensen earned the honour by making the cut from a list of 8,413 applicants last year. Only six were chosen from the huge field, including the lucky 32 year-old Mogensen.
Mogensen’s specialty is the guidance navigation and control of spacecraft, which he is currently researching at the University of Surrey. At the ESA press conference, covered by the JP news agency, Mogensen said he was proud and thrilled to have been selected for the space programme.
“It is the culmination of a life-long dream that began with the awe and sense of adventure that embodies human space exploration,” he stated. Jean-Jacques Dordain, the Director General of ESA, commented that the astronauts were all chosen purely for being the best in their field.
Since the ESA does not have its own fleet manned spacecraft, European astronauts must wait for a place on an American or Russian space journey in order to do their work aboard the International Space Station.
Besides naming the first Dane to their roster, the ESA also selected the first woman to ever join the corps, an Italian combat pilot. The other four new members will join the existing eight-man crew of European astronauts.