ESA hate me:
Dear Mr McNulty,
On behalf of the European Space Agency, I wish to thank you for your application and interest in joining the European Astronaut Corps.
I regret to inform you that after very careful consideration, it has been decided not to retain your application for the post of Astronaut. However, should you not object, we would like to keep your file on record for other career opportunities at ESA and contact you if a post which matches your profile should emerge.
I would also like direct your attention to ‘Careers at ESA’ website in which we advertise all current external vacancies. You may also be interested in subscribing to our recently introduced job alert feature. In order to receive the regular updates on vacant positions at ESA, please click
and follow the link ‘Subscribe to ESA vacancy notices’.
On behalf of the European Space Agency, I wish you all the best for your further career.
Head, ESOC Human Resources Division
And just for those sore losers out there, it ended:
This is a no-reply email address. Please do not respond to this email.
I was always going to have only a very outside chance, but it was worth it for the fun of applying. There’s not many people who can say that they even tried to become an astronaut and I’ve already had my monies worth in conversations it’s brought up with friends and relatives (like the look on my parents faces when I told them! 😉 ).
Good luck to those who got through, I shall be watching with interest to see if any English people make the final cut. And now, if you’ll forgive the self congratulatory tone of a job application, here are my (obviously WRONG) answers to the big questions on my astronaut application form (actually these are my initial long versions before I realised that the word count limit was actually a character count limit! I had to cut these down to fit the application form):
Why do you want to become an astronaut?
Arthur C Clarke said: “Sometimes I think we’re alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we’re not. In either case the idea is quite staggering.” The universe is very, VERY big and if we are alone, there are unimaginable wonders out there that will never be witnessed by anyone except us. If we are not alone, then one day mankind will discover that there are bigger issues at stake than those confined to our small world. In either case, the most momentous events in human history are yet to happen to our species and they are inextricably linked to our manned space program.
We have the technology and the opportunity to reach out and explore our solar. History will look back at the 20th and 21st century as the pioneering age of space and record how it laid the foundation for the future of human space travel. If what humble skills I have can be put to good use furthering the development of our manned space programme, then it would be a privilege to devote the rest my working life to the greatest adventure known to man.
In your opinion, what are the main tasks that should be performed by an astronaut?
Put simply, the promotion of human space flight to the public. We have the technology, the ability and the imagination to achieve phenomenal progress. What is lacking, particularly in Europe, is the political will. In the 1960’s it was the Cold War that drove the US space program and the moon landings, since then the world has moved forward in co-operation with the ISS. It’s is ironic then that it’s exactly that spirit of co-operation and lack of an “Us vs Them” conflict that has seen the contribution of public funding reduce in recent decades, to the detriment of the space program. It is a credit then to the current US administration that they have recommitted to the manned exploration of space, something that needs to be replicated in Europe.
It is the duty of members of the European space community then, to promote space travel in order to influence political agenda and funding decisions. What better ambassador for the space program is there than an astronaut, truly the fairytale hero of every school boy and girl. It’s exactly these children that grow up to be the voters, the policy makers and world leaders of the future. By promoting and sharing the dream of manned space travel, we can galvanise public opinion and secure long term future funding for our manned spaceflight programme.
Write a candid description of yourself as a person.
Colin is a calm, thoughtful person and a sublime generalist, excelling at any task undertaken. His organised and structured mind is able to quickly grasp the core issues in complex situations, reacting with composure in the face of pressure. Whilst showing a high level of personal initiative, Colin’s affable nature sees him work very well in close nit teams. For the last 15 years Colin has worked in and successfully lead, multi-functional teams comprising 3 to 30 people, from a variety of countries and cultures. Cross cultural man management skills have been well used working on time critical projects with budgets up to EUR 30 million, where Colin typically takes on the roles of technical consultant and general trouble shooter.
A broad engineering background enables Colin to grasp technical concepts quickly, which coupled with an empathetic comprehension of the layman’s level of knowledge, has enabled Colin to spend a decade bridging the gap between the deeply technical and the ordinary man on the street. Whether that be tutoring school children, being the face of technical projects to users, running workshops or giving training courses, Colin is able to explain complicated concepts in engaging ways that anyone can understand. This confidence born from experience, gives Colin the comfortable self-assurance to give presentations to wide ranging audiences, from blue collar worker up to a board of Directors.