A private initiative to launch Germany's very first female astronaut into the final frontier announced on Wednesday that it has whittled down the competition to just six women.
“Die Astronautin” (female astronaut) project was kicked off by the private human resources company HE Space after its CEO said she was frustrated by the fact that Germany still had not sent a woman into the beyond.
Though the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has been around for over 100 years, only 11 men from Germany have left planet Earth.
That's why HE Space CEO Claudia Kessler told The Local last year that “the 12th German human to go should be a woman”.
“We have shown that Germany's women have what it takes to fly into space,” Kessler said in the announcement on Wednesday.
The six women have all undergone and passed the DLR medical and psychological selection tests, proving that they are “physically and mentally capable of withstanding the strains of space,” the initiative wrote in a statement.
The finalists range in age from 28 to 37 and include several engineers, an astrophysicist, a meteorologist, and even one Eurofighter pilot.
The next step will be for a jury to select two of the women to undergo astronaut training with the goal that one of them will go to space by 2020.
Die Astronautin is now raising €50,000 through crowdfunding to be able to pay for the training by April 31st. The total cost of the mission is estimated to reach around €30 million, and the initiative will have to find larger sponsors for this.
The woman who makes it as the space pioneer will conduct medical tests to analyze the effects of zero gravity on the female body. And the initiative says she will also serve as inspiration for young girls.
“A female German astronaut would give a new boost to Germany's aviation and aerospace sector,” Kessler said in a statement.
“This astronaut would inspire women and girls to turn their sights to aerospace and engineering. A female astronaut would also have a standing that would go far beyond the country's borders. Germany now has the opportunity to write history again.”