SPACE is about to welcome its next visitor: Rosemary Coogan.

Having completed her European Space Agency (ESA) training today, Coogan becomes one of the ESA’s first recruits in more than a decade.

European Space Agency astronaut graduates (L-R) Rosemary Coogan, Sophie Adenot, Raphael Liegeois, Pablo Alvarez Fernandez and Marco Sieber (R) as well as Australia’s Katherine Bennell-Pegg (2nd R) who also completed the ESA’s astronaut basic training

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European Space Agency astronaut graduates (L-R) Rosemary Coogan, Sophie Adenot, Raphael Liegeois, Pablo Alvarez Fernandez and Marco Sieber (R) as well as Australia’s Katherine Bennell-Pegg (2nd R) who also completed the ESA’s astronaut basic trainingCredit: AFP
Astronaut Rosemary Coogan, 33, from Belfast

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Astronaut Rosemary Coogan, 33, from BelfastCredit: AFP

The 33-year-old, from Belfast, was selected as an ESA astronaut candidate from a sea of over 22,500 applicants in 2022.

Since then, she has been training at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. 

From dreaming about space to now being one step closer to reaching it, I’m filled with gratitude and determination to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity.

Rosemary Coogan, ESA astronaut

European space chiefs have said that Coogan is “among the best” in her class of astronauts, five of whom will join her in graduating.

Josef Aschbacher, the agency’s director-general, told The Times before the ceremony: “Certainly she has done extremely well.”

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Coogan has described her graduation moment as “incredibly moving”, adding that she’s ready to “embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead”.

“From dreaming about space to now being one step closer to reaching it, I’m filled with gratitude and determination to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity,” she said.

Coogan is set to take part in operational tasks on the ground until she is assigned to a mission off-planet and aboard the International Space Station.

The newly-graduated-astronaut has been trained to conduct scientific experiments aboard the ISS.

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Experiments aboard the ISS have fuelled a number of scientific breakthroughs, such the discovery of new water purification systems, steadily burning cool flames, drug development and how microgravity changes the human body.

Andrew Griffith, Minister for Space, said: “Our congratulations to British astronaut, Rosemary Coogan, on getting her astronaut ‘wings’ as she graduates from her year-long basic space training with the European Space agency in Cologne.

“It’s a proud moment for the UK which will inspire many more here and beyond to see that the sky need not be the limit of their ambitions.”

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This post first appeared on Thesun.co.uk

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