European Space Agency selects two Spanish astronauts

News - 2022.11.23

The Minister congratulated the new astronauts for having achieved this historic milestone, as Spain had not had a member of this select group of ESA astronauts for 30 years. Since the 1992 selection process, during which Pedro Duque was selected, there have only been two calls for applications, one in 1998 and the other in 2008, during which no Spaniard was selected.

Morant pointed out that having two Spaniards among the ESA astronauts is an achievement of the Government of Spain's commitment to the aerospace sector. "From 2019, we have increased Spain's annual contribution to the ESA by 50%, we have implemented the Aerospace PERTE, which is going to mobilise over €4.5 billion, and we are going to create the Spanish Space Agency", she said.

New Spanish astronauts at the ESA

Pablo Álvarez will be part of the ESA's regular astronaut corps. He holds a degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of León and a master's degree in aerospace engineering from the Warsaw University of Technology. He worked as a structural engineer for several Airbus aircraft programmes in Spain, France and the UK and as a mechanical architect for the European Space Agency's ExoMars Rover programme at Airbus Defence and Space in the UK. In recent years, he worked as a project manager for Airbus in Spain, supporting projects at the company's production plants.

Sara García will be part of the reserve astronaut team, made up of candidates who have passed the selection process but have not been incorporated into the regular astronaut corps.

García studied a bachelor's and master's degree in Biotechnology at the University of León. She subsequently completed her doctoral thesis at the Salamanca Cancer Research Centre and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), the largest cancer research organisation in Spain, which is part of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Astronaut selection process

The selection process for the new class of astronauts began last year. A total of 22,523 applications were submitted from all over Europe, of which over 1,300 were from Spain.

After being selected, the astronauts will begin a demanding training programme that will enable them to participate in space missions for decades to come. The new astronauts are expected to participate in the activities of the International Space Station (ISS) and other major missions of international importance.

Since the start of ESA spaceflights in the 1980s, only 30 European astronauts have been selected, in addition to this class.

Non official translation

More Info