Meet the two new Spanish astronauts: “We dream of going to the Moon, but we will not reach Mars”

Pablo Alvarez and Sara Garcia, both from the town of León, are the two new Spanish astronauts of the European Space Agency (ESA), the agency announced this week. They are the first two from that country since Pedro Duque was appointed in 1992.

While Álvarez is the main astronaut, García is a substitute.

Pablo Álvarez and Sara García are the two new Spanish astronauts

“It has been a long time since we flew to the Moon and I think that any astronaut dreams of returning,” said Álvarez. to SER Chain. “The ultimate dream is to set foot on the Moon but it is something very, very complicated. Imagine if you wanted to orbit the Moon. There are spectacular images of Operation Artemis that it can change your perspective of how our planet looks from space”.

And to El País he stated: “We dream of going to the Moon, but we will not reach Mars”, under the argument of the difficulty of the space program towards the red planet.

Spanish astronauts make history in space

The first Spanish astronaut was Miguel “Michael” Lopez-Alegria, although he traveled to space as a member of NASA and with American nationality. Pedro Duke followed in his footsteps, but under ESA orders and under the Spanish flag.

Pablo Alvarez is aeronautical engineer from the University of León, in addition to having a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Warsaw University of Technology. He recently worked as a Project Manager for Airbus operations in Spain.

Pablo Álvarez, ESA astronaut

Previously, he was part of the ESA in the construction of a rover for Mars.

For her part, Sara García is graduated in biotechnology from the University of León, doing his doctoral thesis on oncology topics.

Both were chosen from more than 22,500 people from all over Europe.

“If you let yourself be carried away by motivation, which in the end is what we all have in common, by the desire to explore, by curiosity… It outweighs the fear you may have. And you have a responsibility towards the rest of European Spaniards and humans in space and that is above any fear”, Álvarez points out in his conversation with Cadena SER.

Sara García, breaking barriers

García is the first female astronaut in the history of Spain.

“It was a pending subject (parity) and ESA has done a lot of work trying to bring women to apply to the process and this has been reflected in the final ratios”, explains the woman from Leon.

“Only 25% of the applications were made by women and we have reached the final phase with 50% of women. And we were numbers. They were blind tests. This shows that any woman is capable of doing that job equal to or better than any other person.”

Sara Garcia, ESA Reserve Astronaut

“Gender is not something that does not determine your abilities as an astronaut.”

Now come long days of training for both astronauts, and the expectation of being selected for a mission of the European Space Agency.

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