ESA hires the first parastronaut in history

ESA hires the first parastronaut in history
ESA hires the first parastronaut in history. Image: Sergey Kohl/

British former Paralympians John McFall will a part of five others selected during the agency´s recruitment aimed to bring diversity into space  

The European Space Agency recently announced their first recruit on Wednesday, November 23, at a press conference in Paris. According to a report by the Associated Press, 41-year-old John Mcfall from the UK has been chosen as the first parastronaut, in the history of space travel.  

Stating that this moment is a real turning point in aerospace, Mcfall said, “ESA has a commitment to send an astronaut with a physical disability into space … This is the first time that a space agency has endeavored to embark on a project like this. And it sends a really, really strong message to humanity”.  

Mcfall lost his right leg during a motorcycle accident when he was only 19 and eventually went on to compete in the Paralympics also, the report said. “I’m very comfortable in my own skin”, said Mcfall, adding, “All those factors and hardships in life have given me confidence and strength — the ability to believe in myself that I can do anything I put my mind to”.  

He will be a part of a team which will include five other recruits. But for him, the path will be very different as he will be part of a study to understand whether physical disability will impair space travel.  

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