Who will replace Thomas Pesquet? The European Space Agency (ESA) is launching a new recruitment campaign. To be selected, you must meet some essential medical criteria.

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Medical checks

No space mission without a private pilot class 2 medical certificate. This certificate is issued by a specialist doctor, you can find a list here.

According to Dr Christian Bruy, from the Center D’expertise De Medecine Aéronautique De Lyon Saint Exupery,: “At altitude, there is less oxygen and less pressure. So it is essential to check the heart and lungs. We do an electrocardiogram and a respiratory evaluation ”. Blood pressure should not exceed 16-9. According to Professor Marotte, “The cardiovascular risk exists, you need a heart in good condition”.

Sight and hearing are also checked. “The distance visual acuity must be at least 5/10 for each eye, and for both eyes at least 7/10, with or without correction”, explains Professor Henri Marotte, director of the capacity of aerospace medicine from René Descartes University. You also need to be able to distinguish colors.

The hearing test is not very demanding according to this specialist: “The ENT examination must cover up to the frequency of 4000 hertz. “

Parastronauts

ESA is looking for a variety of profiles. People with disabilities can also try their luck. They must present an equivalent to the class 2-private pilot certificate. A physicist must certify that apart from their disability, nothing prevents them from fulfilling all the conditions necessary for obtaining the medical certificate.

The objective is to conduct a study on the possibility of integrating parastronauts, disabled astronauts, into a space mission.

Based on the classification of the Paralympic Games, ESA has defined three categories of disability that correspond to the safety requirements of a manned space flight: a deformation or a handicap of one or both lower limbs, whether a deficiency of one or two feet up to the ankle, one or two legs below the knee, and people of short stature (less than 1.30cm).

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Adapt the workstation

“As long as the workstation is suitable, there is no problem. We can very well have people with a severed limb who wear a prosthesis. On the other hand, if the handicap is cognitive, this can pose more problems ”, specifies Pr Marotte,

The professor has already encountered the case of an airline pilot whose right arm was malfunctioning. “We admitted it, but only in the place where he flips the switches with his left hand. We also have a pilot with a prosthetic leg. According to him, this adaptation can be applied in the cockpits of astronauts. But “fitting a cockpit costs a fortune,” and space missions are already very expensive.

Applications can be sent from March 31 to May 28, 2021 on the ESA website. To participate, you must provide a CV to Europass format, a cover letter, a copy of your passport and the private pilot class 2 medical certificate.