Pilot, meteorologist vying to be first German female astronaut

April 19, 2017
Insa Thiele-Eich, left, and Nicola Baumann give a thumb up sign in Berlin, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. A fighter pilot and a meteorologist have made the finals in the race to become Germany's first female astronaut. A panel of experts picked the two finalists - German air force Eurofighter jet pilot Maj. Nicola Baumann and meteorologist Insa Thiele-Eich - from the top six candidates. (Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP)

A fighter pilot and a meteorologist have made the finals in the race to become Germany's first female astronaut.

A private group is hoping to raise 50 million euros ($53.6 million) to send a German woman to the International Space Station by 2020.

Until now, Germany's eleven astronauts have all been male, starting with Sigmund Jaehn from East Germany in 1978.

The group received applications from 400 women, of whom 80 underwent medical and at the German Aerospace Center.

A panel of experts picked the two finalists—German air force Eurofighter jet pilot Maj. Nicola Baumann and meteorologist Insa Thiele-Eich.

The finalists were announced Wednesday at an event in Berlin. Both will start training, and the winner will be selected at a later date with the other as backup.

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