On 20 May the names of the new European astronauts were revealed by the ESA in Paris. Alexander Gerst, a PhD student in the field of volcanology at the Institute for Geophysics of the University of Hamburg, is one of the six candidates who made it through the difficult selection process. These are the first European recruits for space flight since the year 1992.
“This is a very important day for human spaceflight in Europe,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight. “These young men and women are the next generation of European space explorers. They have a fantastic career ahead, which will put them right on top of one of the ultimate challenges of our time: going back to the Moon and beyond as part of the global exploration effort.”
Alexander Gerst is the only scientist among the six new ESA astronauts. He will start his training in September at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne.