After more than a year of testing, the European Space Agency (ESA) has finally announced its new batch of astronauts today. It is a special occasion, because there are two Spaniards in it, one on the final list and the other on the reserve.
The first is Pablo Alvarez, a 34-year-old aeronautical engineer, while on the substitute list is Sara Garcia, biotechnology and 33 years old. Both are from Leon and studied their respective careers at the University of León.
In this way, Pablo would become the third Spanish astronaut in history, after the Hispanic American Miguel Lopez Alegriawho worked for NASA, and former minister Pedro Dukewho was recruited as an ESA astronaut in 1992. As for Sara, if she finally got to work as an astronaut, she would be the first Spanish woman astronaut.
New Spanish astronauts
The ESA selection process has lasted more than a year and has been made up of six phases. Participants had to have at least a degree and a master’s degree and, in addition, have worked for at least three years. should speak english and another language, in addition to their native language, and have training in diving and swimming. In addition, their height must be between 1.50 and 1.90 and they must not be more than 50 years old.
In the case of the selected Spanish astronaut, he graduated in aeronautical engineering at the University of León and later completed a master’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Warsaw. He speaks fluently Spanish, English, Polish and French and already has experience working for ESA, having worked as a mechanical architect for the mission exomarswhich should have left for Mars this year had it not been for the break in ties between ESA and Roscosmos.
He still has a year and a half of training ahead of him at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne (Germany) with the rest of the ESA astronauts, among whom on this occasion people with physical disabilities have also been selected. Once prepared, they will carry out missions on the International Space Station, but they will also participate in the agency’s two great missions of the future: the trip to the Moon, planned for 2030, and the manned mission to Mars.
A biotechnologist prepared to be an astronaut
It is the first time that ESA has also chosen a reserve of 20 astronauts. And this is where Sara García is located. She graduated in biotechnology at the University of Leon. There, he began a research career, which he would later continue at the Salamanca Cancer Research Center. Currently, she is a researcher at the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), she collaborates with the Spanish Association Against Cancer and carries out scientific outreach work.
Both she and Pablo are part of the only 28 Spanish who passed to the second round of tests. Initially 1,341 showed up. It is a pride to have them; Well, surely, this will not be the last time we hear their names.