Have you got what it takes to be the next Cosmonaut?

Blog, Glossary

Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS this week announced the opening of the next selection programme of cosmonauts (Russian astronaut) see: https://twitter.com/roscosmos/status/1135521818301870083

Don’t read Russian? No problem, I have you sorted:


You’re welcome! Applications are accepted from Russian citizens between now and 1 June 2020, and at the end of it there will be 4-6 newly selected Cosmonauts! Could that be you?

Interestingly they require a minimum footsize of 29.5cm… I wonder what that could be for?

Whilst here you know see the entry requirements for a Russian Astronaut, in my upcoming youtube video, I’ll be talking about what it takes it be an astronaut in general, so if you don’t follow my youtube channel yet, you really should!


My city Coventry


Okay so a few weeks ago at work a colleague asked me where I was from in the UK, and I replied
“Oh, it’s a small little town, you’ve probably never heard of it, Coventry. It’s close to Birmingham”.
This is a natural response for me given that I lived in the US for a year and the only city anyone had heard of is London.

Actually the worse conversation I ever had went something along the lines of:

Her: “You’re from England, wow you’re english is so good!”
Me *confused*: “Erm, yeh because English people tend to speak english… ”
Her: “Oh really, I thought you spoke french there”
Me: *facepalm*

Anyway. So it turned out that my colleague had indeed heard of coventry since there are at least 2 other ESA employees working here in Spain who are from Coventry.

Statistically wise this is a super amazing opportunity for me to calculate the probability of that actually happening!

So lets say there are ~400 employees at ESA, Spain.

Since employment is swayed by the contribution of ESA member states and the UK’s slice is ~8%, we expect there to be:

0.08 \times 400 = 32 employees at ESA from the UK.

The probability of selecting someone from coventry out of the whole of the UK is given by the ratio of their populations:

\frac{\rm Coventry's\ population}{\rm UK\ population} = \frac{3.2\times 10^5}{6.6\times 10^7} = 0.005

So we would expect

0.005 \times 32 = 0.16 employees from Coventry working at ESA spain!

Since we have at least 3 of them, the likelihood of us all being here is much smaller! Note also that we all come from all over Coventry and went to completely different schools, so its unlikely that there could be some sort of bias. None the less, good job Coventry on producing some great scientists!

Astronaut Andreas Mogensen


Earlier this week I visited ESA’s European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany. I’ve been very fortunate for this to be the 3rd time I have been to facility. The last time was pretty cool – I mean, it’s not every day you get a personal tour by ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, especially whilst he’s preparing to go to space!

Well last week, Andreas Mogensen finally made his debut space flight to the international space station. For those of you who don’t know much about Andreas, here’s 5 facts that you really ought to know:

1. He was joined the European Astronaut Corps in 2009 and has been training for 6 years for his 10 day journey aboard the ISS

2. He is the 1st astronaut from Denmark and to celebrate the Danish company LEGO made 20 custom LEGO figurines to keep him company whilst in space. The LEGO toys will be prizes to kids that can come up with the best video of Andreas’ story

3. Originally his trip to the ISS was supposed to take 6 hours but instead it took 2 days to avoid space junk, that’s a long time to be stuck in the Soyuz – It’s a 5th the size of the shuttle orbiter!

4. When Andreas and fellow crew members boarded the ISS, they brought the total number of inhabitants up to 9. The ISS was only built for 6 astronauts!

5. His main task is of course science. These include testing a new water-cleaning system, hands-free goggles similar to google-glass, a tight-fitting suit that mimics the effects of gravity and controlling rovers on Earth to prepare for future missions on Mars.

At EAC, I was given the opportunity to sit in on a conference call with the ISS and space agencies from around the world. It was unbelievable that I was on a LIVE chat to all 9 astronauts in space! Space has never seemed more close than in that moment and it is a memory that I will cherish always. Follow Andreas’ journey on twitter @Astro_Andreas.

Quarantine in Baikonur