“I think it takes a number of things [to become an astronaut] really, which is why the selection process will take 15 to 16 months to complete,” said Peake.
“Essentially, there are certain qualifications that you need to have. ESA is looking for a Master’s in natural sciences, medicine, computer science, maths, engineering, and possibly the ability to speak another language as well.
“But once the application phase is through, once we get those people with the initial qualifications, what the agency is looking for mainly is people with the right personality and character.
“I mean, the bulk of the selection process will focus on their psychological profile; their ability to work effectively as a team. It’s interesting that in the first stage, they’ll look for hard skills – which we call non-trainable skills; things like concentration and memory retention, spatial awareness. There’ll be an intense day that will evaluate on all of that.
“But once that’s done, it’s down to the ‘soft skills’; the communication, the teamwork, the leadership, and how people work together.”