Words by Abi Scaife
The European Space Agency (ESA) has chosen its first disabled astronaut.
That sounds amazing! Tell me more.
John McFall is a British Paralympic sprinter, who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident at 19, and continued to run with a prosthesis.
He has been chosen as part of the ESA’s Parastronaut Feasability Project, and joins the 2022 European Space Agency Astronaut Group – becoming the world's first disabled astronaut.
Why are disabled astronauts only being considered now?
Space exploration is expensive, meaning there are a lot of restrictions on who can and cannot blast off. For example, people below a certain height have not been able to apply until now, because they need to be able to reach all the controls in the spacecraft.
So what happens now?
Now, John will begin his training with the ESA, who will be working with him to figure out how best to accommodate him.
There’s no guarantee that John will be able to go into space one day, but this is certainly a move in the right direction for people with disabilities who are interested in space.