Hungary’s upcoming crewed spaceflight has advanced to the final stage

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Hungary’s crewed spaceflight program has advanced to the final stages of selecting a candidate to represent the nation on the International Space Station. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó recently announced that the selection panel has narrowed down the shortlist to four candidates for the Hunor program, a crucial component of Hungary’s space strategy. The mission aims to test scientific experiments and developments by Hungarian research institutes, universities, and companies on board the laboratory, with a planned launch in late 2024 or early 2025.

The selection process, which began on October 28, 2021, saw 244 applicants vying for the position of future research astronaut. Candidates underwent a rigorous, multi-round assessment process and had to meet strict medical and professional requirements to be considered. The selection panel included representatives from Semmelweis University, the Institute of Energy Sciences, the European Space Agency (ESA), and others.

Once the successful candidate completes their training, they will join ESA’s astronaut class under an agreement, potentially leading to further missions in the future. Hungary’s commitment to space exploration is an important step forward in the nation’s scientific advancement, and the final decision on the selected candidate is highly anticipated.

The ISS seen from an approaching crewed spacecraft. Photo: Thomas Pesquet 

Following a rigorous selection process that included tests at the Hungarian Defence Forces’ airbase in Kecskemét, the pool of potential Hungarian astronaut candidates has been narrowed down to four. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó made the announcement, stating that fighter pilots assisted in the testing process, contributing to the selection of the final four candidates by the panel of experts overseeing the selection.

The spaceflight will be managed by Axiom Space, a US-based space travel services company. The Hungarian state will pay Axiom $100 million to secure a seat for a future mission to the International Space Station. This amount includes not only the cost of the trip to the station but also assistance in creating a scientific program, which involves collaboration with NASA and other organizations.

While the official announcement of Hungary’s next astronaut has yet to be made, it is highly likely that they will be launched on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Hungary’s participation in space exploration highlights the nation’s commitment to scientific advancement and is an exciting development for the country’s space program.

Two Dragon spacecraft docked to the station’s American segment. Photo: NASA

The Hunor program’s research astronaut is set to test various Hungarian scientific equipment and developments during its approximately 30-day spaceflight to the International Space Station, one of the most advanced laboratories in the world. The selected astronauts will undergo further training and selection tests over the next year to ensure the final decision on who will go aboard the ISS is well-informed.

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