Sunday, 26 May 2024

Spain will once again have astronauts in space. In late November, the European Space Agency (ESA) chose Pablo Álvarez, 24, aeronautical engineer and Sara García, 33, biotechnologist, for its new European astronaut class.

In total, the Agency has chosen five career astronauts (among them, the Spanish engineer), 11 astronaut reserves (among them, the Spanish biotechnologist) and one handicapped astronaut, among over 22,500 European candidates that applied for the selection process. Approximately 1,300 applications were received from Spain.

In the next few weeks, the new astronauts will start an arduous training program that could last for more than three years to take part in key missions for the future of aerospace exploration: the return to the Moon, planned for 2030, or a future trip to Mars. Until then, they will fly and work in the International Space Station, like their predecessors.

13 years have passed since the European Space Agency last opened a candidate selection process to travel to space. Pedro Duque was, as of that time, the only Spaniard chosen by ESA to take part in space programs 30 years ago today.

Spaniards in ESA

The Leonese Pablo Álvarez is one of the five career astronauts of the new ESA astronaut team. An aeronautical engineer, he holds a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering by the Warsaw University of Technology and has worked at Airbus in various programs developed in Spain, France and the United Kingdom.
Also Leonese, Sara García completed her Bachelor and Master’s Biotechnology program in the University of Leon and later made her doctoral thesis at the Salamanca Cancer Research Center.
She is currently still tied to cancer research as a postdoctoral researcher of the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO). García will be part of the astronaut reserve group.
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