Astronaut candidate Maris Tali to find out ESA decision on Wednesday

Maris Tali talking to 'Ringvaade', Tuesday, November 22, 2022.
Maris Tali talking to 'Ringvaade', Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Source: ERR

Astronaut candidate Maris Tali will find out today, Wednesday, if she has been successful or not in her bid to become the first Estonian in space, ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" reports. More women candidates from Estonia presented for selection than from any other country.

The European Space Agency (ESA) announces its new cadre of astronauts Wednesday, with Tali still in the running, at the time of writing.

On this occasion, "Ringvaade" interviewed Maris Tali, who was screened in the competition.

Tali told "Ringvaade" presenter Anna Pihl that: "Last time there were 8,000 people applying, but this time the figure was over 20,000, which I was not expecting."

"The ESA has quite similar requirements to NASA's, meaning the minimum level is a master's degree - it always helps to have a higher degree. It also helps to have a pilot's license, even a private pilot's license, while expedition and diving experience can also be a bonus," she went on.

"My background is in the sciences, which is probably why I got through the first screening. I have a PhD in physics and I'm quite active, I do different extreme sports," Tali went on, noting that there are also minimum physical fitness and all-round health requirements.

Tali is also currently employed by the ESA, so has that to add to her resume too.

Tali also currently works at the European Space Agency. "I work at a technology center in the Netherlands, where I am an electronics engineer, meaning I work with the tech which is installed on satellites."

As to the process on finding if a candidate has the right stuff, Tali said this was a lengthy one.

"The deadline to submit one's candidacy was last June, which was followed by six further, different rounds," she went on.

Nearly 60 Estonians made it through round one to round two, the toughest phase, Tali said.

Estonia also provided more women candidates than any other country, she added.

The various rounds included problem-solving skills, resistance to stress, teamwork and other abilities, as well as one-on-one interviews.

As to what happens if she is accepted and her chances of making it into space, Tali said that there are six years of training ahead, while the same number of ESA astronauts are already prime candidates for ensuing missions.

"It is difficult to say the exact timeframe, but in about five years," she added.
While Tali would be the first Estonian-born astronaut, woman astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann, who headed for the International Space Station last month, aboard the Elon Musk-founded SpaceX rocket, has Estonian roots, in addition to Native American heritage.

Other Estonian cooperation with the ESA has included a 2020-signed joint cyber security satellite simulator deal, involving private sector firms CybExer Technologies and CGI Estonia

Founded in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, the ESA engages in human spaceflight primarily via the  International Space Station program.

No other Estonian has made it into space up to now; during the Soviet occupation of Estonia, plenty of research and tech development was carried out, while the Põltsamaa food concern developed the rations-in-a-tube provided to cosmonauts taking part in the Soviet space program.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Maiken Tiits

Source: Ringvaade

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