More than 22,000 applicants flocked to the European Space Agency (ESA) to recruit the next generation of astronauts. ESA recently released the results of receiving astronaut support submissions from partner countries, including 25 member states. 24% of applicants are women, up from 15% in the previous recruitment in 2008.
There were also 200 volunteers with disabilities.
ESA announced that it would actively pursue measures to increase the proportion of minorities in order to strengthen the diversity of astronauts, including increasing the proportion of women.
In particular, it is said that the world's first effort is being made to train disabled astronauts to determine what adaptations are necessary for disabled people to live in space.
For women, the long-term goal is to strike a balance in terms of gender equality.
To date, ESA has sent only two female astronauts into space. Globally, 65 of 560 astronauts are women, most of them Americans, the Associated Press reported.
ESA Director Josef Ashbacher said at a press conference, "I am very encouraged by the results of the application.