Of the over 22.000 Europeans that have applied to become astronauts with the European Space Agence (ESA), 998 of them were from the Netherlands.
One giant leap for Dutch-kind…
Almost 1.000 Dutchies are apparently to hitch a ride off Earth (and leave all this coronavirus talk behind), with 998 people from the Netherlands applying to become ESA astronauts. Of the applicants, 30 percent are women, giving the Netherlands the second-highest proportion of female applicants, with Estonia taking the top spot.
This year, the ESA was also looking to hire astronauts with a mild physical disability, for example people shorter than 1,30 metres or with one leg considerably shorter than the other. The successful applicants will become parastronauts, and 13 of the 257 applications came from the Netherlands.
Thousands of Europeans dream of becoming astronauts
Most applications came from France, where over 7.000 people applied, followed by Germany (3.700), the UK (1.979) and Italy (1.860). The applications will be assessed over the coming months, and the names of the successful candidates will be announced in October 2022. In the future, Europe will supply at least three astronauts who will be stationed at a new space station orbiting the moon.
2021 marks the first time in over 11 years that people have been able to apply to become ESA astronauts. In the last recruitment campaign in 2008, there were over 200 Dutch applicants, but sadly none of them proved successful. So far, only three native Dutchies have actually made it into space: Wubbo Ockels was in 1985, Lodewijk van den Berg in 1995, and André Kuipers in 2004 and 2011 / 2012.