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Carmen Possnig: will she be the first Austrian in space?

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Dave
Dave
I have been working in news websites for the past three years. I am currently an author at 24 hours world, where I mainly cover world news. I have also written for The Huffington Post and The New York Observer.
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This was announced by the ESA at its Ministerial Council meeting in Paris on Wednesday afternoon. Possnig prevailed in a complex selection process from a total of more than 22,500 applicants from all over Europe.

Almost exactly five years ago, Possnig started a one-year stay in Antarctica on behalf of ESA. At the time, the general practitioner was researching the effects of isolation and low oxygen levels on the crew at the Antarctic station “Concordia”. Even then, she was not averse to a trip to space in an interview with the APA: “But not according to the motto ‘We fly to Mars and stay there for life’. But if they pick me up again in five years, that would be okay “Possnig said just before her Antarctic adventure.

Successor to Franz Viehböck?

Now the Carinthian has actually made it into the next training year for European astronauts. This gives her the chance to be the first Austrian to fly into space. In 1991, Franz Viehböck was the only Austrian to date to complete an all-stay as part of the then “Austromir” mission.

Since last year, ESA has been looking for up to six permanent astronauts. In addition to them, there was also talk of a “reserve” of up to 20 candidates. A total of 530 women and 831 men made it into the second round of the selection process at the beginning of the year. Of the 116 Austrian applicants, 13 cleared the first hurdle, and 13 of the 350 male applicants also remained in the race for the coveted top jobs.

Possnig is currently doing a PhD at the University of Innsbruck, where she is working on space medicine. She published the book “South of the End of the World” about her experiences during her stay in Antarctica.

Six-stage selection process

The selection process had a total of six stages, as the Tyrolean ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher explained at the presentation: “The last stage was an interview with me.” In these conversations he got to know “very interesting people” with “unique personalities”. It doesn’t matter whether they are “career” or “reserve” – ​​everyone is “capable of flying into space” and are therefore “astronauts”.

In the career track, the future astronauts immediately receive a contract with the space agency. They start with basic training and are then trained for future missions at ESA’s Astronaut Center in Cologne. The reserve has not yet received a fixed contract and will remain in their traditional jobs for the time being. In addition, there are regular training sessions and coordination with ESA. The idea behind it is that these personalities can then be integrated into projects and missions relatively quickly, says Aschbacher.

Source: Nachrichten

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