The European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing a new class of astronauts to make space flights more accessible. The first member of the class called paraastronaut d has been revealed. He was selected among the 17 astronaut candidates of the 41-year-old British paralympic athlete John McFall, becoming the first disabled astronaut.
Former Paralympic athlete becomes first disabled astronaut
ESA is forming the first group of new astronauts in 13 years. The new group will include five career astronauts, 11 reserve astronauts and a physically disabled astronaut. New astronauts will undergo a 12-month basic training program at ESA’s European Astronaut Center in the spring of 2023.
ESA states that with the new astronaut group, work towards new targets will accelerate. The new astronauts will serve in low-Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station, as well as in expeditions to the Moon and beyond.
Being the first disabled astronaut, John McFall is taking an important step for life in space. After losing his leg in a motorcycle accident at the age of 19, McFall later became a professional track and field athlete. Successful sporuc competed for the United Kingdom at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.
The astronaut candidate will help ESA better understand how to accommodate physically disabled people on its spaceship, and eventually he will be able to travel to space himself. The astronaut candidate will help ESA better understand how to accommodate people with physical disabilities on its spaceship. McFall will be able to go into space at the end of the training.
In February 2021, the ESA made an unprecedented call for a new class of astronauts, encouraging people with physical disabilities to apply. With this initiative, it is preparing for the future by considering the different needs for life in space.
Despite losing his leg, John McFall is now a candidate to become the first disabled astronaut after showing great determination by continuing the sport. So what do you think about ESA’s new paraastronaut initiative? You can share your views with us in the comments section.