Call for analog astronaut applications

Apply now for the class of 2019

Information for Applicants

The Austrian Space Forum is soliciting applications for the next class of Analog Astronauts (class of 2019). After a competitive selection process between September-December 2018, the analog astronauts will report for an approximately five-month basic training in April 2019, leading to potential mission assignments as early as end of 2019.

The Austrian Space Forum is seeking volunteers to apply for the training opportunity for analog astronauts. Analog astronauts participate in simulated Mars/Moon - missions which are conducted on the ground in a Mars/Moon-analog environment.

The selection processAnalog Astronauts on EVA. (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

Men and women between the age of 25-45 are invited to submit their application. The process will include a detailed medical and psychological assessment. The successful candidates will undergo a compact and intense training comprised of lectures, hands-on spacesuit and field training, and they will receive coaching for strengthening their physical and mental fitness.

All applications will be screened and ranked (“A-Selection”), leading to a number of 30 candidates, which will be assessed by a selection team of the Austrian Space Forum (“B-Selection”). 15 successful finalists will be invited than to the final round (“C-Selection”), from which 6-8 candidates will be chosen as Analog Astronauts in-training. We strongly encourage female applicants for a gender balanced analog astronaut group. The Austrian Space Forum will announce the successful candidates before the end of 2018.

 (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

The selection tests will include

  • medical tests performed by healthcare professionals, ranging from anthropometric measurements, health status assessments, fitness level, lifestyle and nutrition evaluation
  • psychological tests evaluating desirable character traits, cognitive capabilities, the ability to perform under stress and mission-relevant settings and social competences
  • technical and scientific assessments, like basic understanding of spaceflight and space exploration topics, basic engineering and scientific knowledge
  • management assessment (“job-interview”-style), including the ability to articulate oneself, and being a role-model for space exploration

For comparison, for the Analog Astronaut class of 2015, every successful analog astronaut was assessed for up to 637 individual parameters.

Responsibilities of Analog Astronauts

Analog Astronauts are trained to conduct spaceflight-simulations in Mars/Moon-like regions on Earth, testing and evaluating equipment procedures, human factors and workflows relevant to future human-robotic space exploration missions. They conduct experiments in field campaigns in an international and interdisciplinary environment, typically lasting a few days up to one month. Analog astronauts contribute to the development of spacesuit simulators and other relevant instrumentation. They also interact with the public, including education and media outreach activities.

Minimum selection criteria

  • European Union or Swiss or Liechtenstein citizen, aged between 25-45 years (on 15Apr2019).
  • Body height between 165-190 cm, minimum body weight: 55 kg
  • Excellent mental and physical health condition
  • Fluency in English (preferably with at least a second European language)
  • Experience in a technological, engineering or scientific field (such as aerospace/mechanical/electrical engineering, computer science, life sciences, geosciences), AND/OR commercial or military pilot training.
  • Full availability for the basic training (approximately five weekends between April-September 2019, plus distance learning and the ability to follow a strict physical and nutritional training regime) both during the basic training and in preparation for missions.
  • Availability for mission preparation or recertification (typically 2 weekends per year) and missions (2-4 weeks of field operations every 2-3 years on average), as well as for media and education/outreach activities on an irregular bases.

How to apply

Applications must reach the Austrian Space Forum by no later than 10Oct2018, 23:59 CEST via email to: , containing the following documents:

  • 1 page Cover letter, containing a photo and full contact coordinates (name, gender, nationality, address, telephone, email, birthday, social media or website links)
  • 1 page CV
  • 1 page motivation letter (“Why do you apply?”)
  • a 1-2 minute video about yourself and your motivation to join (pls include the video-link in your email)
  • 1 signed copy of the legal statement ( Download Legal statement)

AMADEE-18 wifi-setup (c) OeWF (Florian Voggender)

How to prepare

  • Obtain a basic fitness level: Candidates should be able to run at least 30 min continuously in a moderate jogging pace without breaks. If you have any concerns regarding your health status, feel free to contact the Austrian Space Forum to discuss potential exclusion criteria before applying. Otherwise, stay healthy and avoid
    competitive sports with a high risk of injury until the end of the selection process.
  • Basic understanding of space exploration topics: Refresh your Mars and lunar planetology and human spaceflight knowledge by e.g. reading on Wikipedia.
    Knowledge in these topics is a plus, but not required.
  • Make yourself familiar with the organization: Read about the Austrian Space Forum and its Mars analog missions.

Selection and Training timeline

  • Deadline for applications: 10Oct2018, 23:59 CEST. All eligible application will undergo the A-selection round. Successful candidates will be notifed no later than 25Oct2018.
  • B-Selection / 30Nov-02Dec2018: 1st medical & psychological assessment. Successful candidates will be notified no later than 05Dec2018
  • C-Selection / 16-18Dez2018: 2nd round medical & psychological evaluation, selection interviews
  • Before end of 2018: Announcement of Analog Astronaut class of 2019
  • Apr-Sep2019: 5 training blocks (typically 3-day blocks in Austria), distance learning & physical training in between the training blocks, final exams.

Testcampaign 17A (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

What to expect

The Austrian Space Forum is the only organization in Europe, which maintains a standing team of volunteer analog astronauts and Mission Support Center teams for Mars analog missions, all of them working on a volunteer basis. During 12 major Mars simulation missions and 10 years of engineering projects, the organisation has gained a significant expertise in the selection and training of Mars analog crews.

  • The analog astronaut selection is a rigorous and highly competitive process, requiring a high level of mental and physical fitness as well as technical and social competence.
  • The basic training regime requires an above-average focus and dedication for the candidates, the same applies to mission preparations.
  • Analog astronauts are trained to execute cutting-edge research experiments, both in laboratory settings and field missions; sometimes they are part of an experiment, e.g. for human factors medical or psychological experiments as well. All experiments and mission deployments are done under the supervision of health care professionals and include a detailed risk assessment and mitigation measures ensuring a safe working environment.
  • Analog astronauts are high profile ambassadors for human spaceflight and Mars exploration in general, hence candidates will also be communicating with the general public, students and be exposed to the media.

Additional information

  • The selection and training will be mostly done in Innsbruck, Austria. Decisions of the selection committee are final and are non-negotiable.
  • Costs for the selection and training will be covered by the Austrian Space Forum, except travel and accommodation expenses of the candidates. The OeWF does not cover lodging, meals or travel expenses during the selection process.
  • Applicants will be required to sign a legal waiver and may be asked to provide a clean criminal record before starting the second selection step. Details will be sent to candidates in time.
  • Additional information about the Austrian Space Forum
  • Example of a major field campaign: amadee18.oewf.org
  • OeWF Analog astronauts