European astronauts want their own spacecraft
Today European astronauts must ‘book’ a seat on a ‘foreign’ rocket for space travel. For this they can go to the US, Russia and maybe China. However, according to the European Astronauts Association, this needs to change. They want the European Space Agency to involve ESA in building a spacecraft that can carry its own astronauts into space.
Space capsule for manned aircraft
ESA has its own rockets like the Ariane 5, but they do not have the capsule to carry astronauts. Typically, ESA missiles are launched from a space base in French Guiana.
Woljens de Association of Space Explorers (ASE), Which has 45 active and retired astronauts as members, the lack of a personal spacecraft for European astronauts could lead Europe to lag behind (even more) in new space competition and targets set in the coming years.
“While Europe is still at the forefront of many space activities such as Earth observation, navigation and space science, it is increasingly lagging behind in strategic domains in space transport and research,” the ASE said in a statement. Public (pdf).
Two Dutch astronauts
So far in the history of space travel two Dutch astronauts, the late Wubbo Ockels and Andre Kuipers, have spent many days outside our atmosphere. Oakles did it on the American space shuttle. The Kuipers were taken to the Russian Soyuz for two of their space missions.
And no, not just us, the son of a wealthy Dutchman who was allowed to fly to the edge of space by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin a few months ago, the official astronauts are no longer considered real astronauts. It will destroy the training and achievements of heroes like Ockels and Kuipers.
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”