This year, more than 22,000 aspiring astronauts applied to the European Space Agency (ESA) during a recruitment drive. For “Madame Espace de l’EPFL” Chloé Carrière, this enthusiasm signifies the democratization of space.
Still a student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Cholé Carrière is very active in her dream field, aerospace. FounderFrom the Haute École I have already launched several programs and projects to promote this topic or prepare space training missions, as I did a few days ago in the Bernese Oberland.
When asked Monday at La Matinale de la RTS about the success of the European Space Agency’s selection (three times more than the candidates in the previous selection in 2008), Cloret deemed it “huge” and imagined that the agency itself did not expect such a selection number.
‘Big difference’ [d’avec 2008], this is the democratization of space: talking about it more and more, there are these billionaires who go into space, there is SpaceX, with all the connections behind it. All this environment means that the space is more and more objective. We also believe in it more, and we believe in this return to the moon in the 1920s.”
Recruitment focused on diversity
The connection of the astronauts themselves is also related to it, such as the French media, Thomas Bisquet, who is currently on a mission aboard the International Space Station.
“It helps a lot,” confirms this enthusiast, also nicknamed “Galactic Chloe.” “There is a connection that the astronauts have made, but the agency itself continues to make a huge progress (…) They have done a campaign that is very focused on diversity, to open the door to women, but also to people with disabilities. I think that really made the difference this year.”
The bright side of privatization
Space is no longer just the business of government space agencies. Recent news shows how far the private sector is taking over the space, with good and bad, assures the student.
“There are always two sides of the coin. What I think is this is a very exciting time for us, people who love space. We see this development happening little by little, this access to space becoming more accessible to private individuals globally.”
But she says this is just the beginning. “We don’t really know how this will be able to develop in the coming decades (…) being a very perfect city, we can imagine that one day everyone can go into space. This is the very positive aspect, as I find it, of this space tourism .
The necessity of organizing space
And she thinks that the downside to some extent is that we get to a point where we won’t have a choice anymore. “We’re going to have to regulate all of that. We don’t have regulation in the space sector for everything that’s private.”
At the moment, Chloé Carrière does not yet meet all the conditions to apply for astronaut training. But she intends to do it one day, even if the challenge is difficult.
“The advantage is that we will arrive in a period where there will not be astronauts only from space agencies. We will need more astronauts also for everything that is commercial. And I am really sure that the astronaut profession will become more democratic.”
Interviewed by Agathe Bearden/Awang
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