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European Space Agency names new astronaut class

An announcement of at new astronaut class by the European Space Agency was made Wednesday in Paris. Photo by European Space Agency
An announcement of at new astronaut class by the European Space Agency was made Wednesday in Paris. Photo by European Space Agency

Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The European Space Agency on Wednesday named 17 new astronaut candidates from more than 22,500 applicants, including 11 from an astronaut reserve and one with a disability.

The announcement in Paris named the first class of new recruits in 13 years for the ESA.

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"This ESA astronaut class is bringing ambition, talent and diversity in many different forms -- to drive our endeavors, and our future," ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said in a statement.

"The continuous exploration in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station, going forward to the Moon -- and beyond."

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John McFall, of Britain, was chosen from the Parastronaut Feasibility Study Project as a member of the class.

Career astronauts named to the class include Sophie Adenot, of France; Pablo Alvarez Fernandez, of Spain; Rosemary Coogan, of Britain; Raphael Liegeois, of Belgium; and Marcos Sieber, of Germany.

Astronaut Reserves named include Meganne Christian, of Britain; Anthea Comellini, of Italy; Sara Garcia Alonso, of Spain; Andrea Patassa, of Italy; Carmen Possnig, of Austria; Arnaud Prost, of France; Amelie Schoenenwald, of Germany; Ales Svoboda, of the Czech Republic; Slawocz Uznanski, of Poland; Marcus Wandt, of Sweden and Nicola Winter, of Germany.

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"We are excited to welcome the new ESA astronaut class of 2022 and I am looking forward to seeing all these ambitious young career astronaut candidates joining us for their first training at ESA's European Astronaut Centre in spring 2023, going forward to explore and shape space exploration," Frank De Winne, the ESA's International Space Station program manager said.

After the astronauts complete a 12-month basic training, they will be ready to enter the next Space Station training phase and assigned to missions.

"This is an extraordinary time for human spaceflight and for Europe," David Parker, ESA's director of Human and Robotic Exploration, said. "After the successful launch of Artemis I with ESA's European Service Module powering Orion to the Moon, we are on the forefront of human space exploration."

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