The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, has announced it is recruiting cosmonauts that may one day set foot on the Moon.
This will be the first time Russia has recruited new astronauts in five years. But whereas those previously have gone to the International Space Station (ISS), these cosmonauts may get the chance to fly to the Moon as soon as 2031.
That’s the year Russia is currently targeting for its first ever manned lunar landing. They’ve been talking about doing this for a while, but this latest news signals a bit of forward movement.
“There will be no discrimination based on skin color or gender,” Sergei Krikalyov, the executive director of manned programmes at Roscosmos, somewhat oddly stated at a news conference according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
Getting to the Moon would involve flying on a new Russian spacecraft in development, called the Federation (or Federatsiya). This four-person vehicle would be an evolution of the existing Soyuz spacecraft, with a more conical shape akin to NASA’s own upcoming deep-space vehicle, Orion.
These particular new cosmonauts would be the pilots on the first launch of the Federation, suggesting there will be further astronaut selection processes to pick the remainder of the crews. The first manned test flight is scheduled for 2023.
To be able to apply, applicants must be younger than 35 years old. They must also be between 1.5 and 1.9 meters in height (4 feet 11 inches and 6 feet 2 inches) and weigh less than 90 kilograms (198 pounds). In terms of qualifications, they’ll need an engineering degree or pilot training, or experience in the aviation or space industries.
Applicants have got four months to apply, so if you’re Russian and reading this right now with the relevant job requirements, why not apply (apparently you can do this by posting to Russia’s Star City training center or heading down there in person). We’ll see you on the Moon.