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Imperial Graduate Named as New ESA Astronaut

May 20 2009 23:03
Lawrence Weetman
Former Imperial College student, Andreas Mogensen, has been selected as one of ESA's six new astronauts - becoming the first Danish astronaut in the process.
From left to right: Luca Parmitano, Alexander Gerst, Andreas Mogensen, Samantha Cristoforetti, Timothy Peake and Thomas Pesquet.

The European Space Agency (ESA) today announced their choices for six new European astronauts. The new recruits will train at the European Astronaut Corps, in preparation for voyages to the International Space Station (ISS) beginning in 2013.

Among them is Danish-born Andreas Mogensen, 32, who fought off 8,407 other applicants in order to receive the position. Mogensen studied Aeronautical Engineering here at Imperial College, graduating with a master's degree in 1999 before completing a PhD at the University of Texas.

Imperial College Graduate Andreas Mogensen is one of the new recruits.

Following his doctorate in the United States, Mogensen became a control systems engineer at Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas. He has since been working on research projects at the Surrey Space Center, focusing upon spacecraft guidance, navigation and control.

Speaking at a conference earlier today, Mogensen said that he was "proud and thrilled" to be selected for the space programme. He did, however, say that all of the astronauts selected are feeling nervous, explaining, "when you're a child your parents and teachers tell you to dream big and get that dream, but no one ever tells you what happens when you achieve it. We just have to enjoy each moment as much as possible."

Mogensen will train and fly along-side the five other new recruits, including Timothy Peake - the first astronaut to fly under the British flag. The other four recruits are Italians Samantha Cristoforetti and Luca Parmitano, German-born Alexander Gerst and Frenchman Thomas Pesquet. As the ESA doesn't have its own rockets, the European astronauts will travel to the ISS in rockets belonging to either Russia or the USA.

This result exceeds our greatest expectations. Not only do we have a group of outstanding astronauts; we also have a representation of European countries that reinforces the support for human spaceflight and exploration in Europe.
Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight

Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA, stressed that the new astronauts were not chosen because of their specialities or their nationalities, but because they were the best. He said, "this new phase required the recruitment of young talent able to draw on the experience gained by the existing astronauts, able to become, step by step, the representatives of Europe in space who, together with their international colleagues, will live, work, explore and bring back to planet Earth and its citizens their unique experience, their accomplishments and their confidence in the future. They all represent the generation that will move from low earth orbit to the Moon."

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Discussion about “Imperial Graduate Named as New ESA Astronaut”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
May 27 2009 09:54

About time an Aero graduate did something useful. Aero-aero, aero-aero! etc.

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