The European Space Agency selects its first disabled astronaut

The European Space Agency on Wednesday selected a former disabled athlete to be among its newest astronaut recruits as part of its first recruitment drive in more than a decade aimed at bringing diversity to space travel.

Six new astronauts have been announced including two women as well as John McFall, a British former Paralympic runner who will take part in a potential pilot feasibility study exploring whether physical disability will weaken Space travel. To date, no major Western space agency has sent an “astronaut” into space, according to the European Space Agency.

The new recruits were among more than 22,000 applicants who applied to a recruitment drive announced in February last year by NASA Europe. More women than ever before and nearly 200 people with disabilities applied.

The European Space Agency has specifically sought out people with disabilities Physical disabilitiesin a first-of-its-kind effort to determine the modifications that would be necessary for space stations to accommodate them.

Across the Atlantic, Houston takes notes. “We at NASA are watching ESA’s astronaut selection process with great interest,” Dan Huot, a spokesman for NASA’s Johnson Space Center, home of the agency’s astronaut team, told the Associated Press.

Huot acknowledged that “NASA’s selection criteria remain the same currently” but said the agency is looking forward to working with “new astronauts of the future” from partners such as the European Space Agency.

NASA has confirmed that it has a safety-conscious process to screen future astronauts who might be put into life-threatening situations.

To maximize crew safety, current NASA requirements require that every crew member be free from Medical conditions This could impair or be exacerbated by a person’s ability to participate in spaceflight, as determined by NASA doctors.”

NASA said the futureassistive technologyIt might change the game for “some candidates” to meet their stringent safety requirements.

It did not specifically address the ESA’s flagship recruitment drive Ethnic diversitybut stressed the importance of “representing all segments of our society.”

The European agency received applications from all 25 member countries and associate members, although most came from heavyweights such as France, Germany, Britain and Italy.

The European Space Agency’s two-day council from Tuesday to Wednesday in Paris saw France, Germany and Italy announce an agreement on Tuesday on a next-generation European space bomber project as part of apparent efforts to better compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and other rocket programs in the United States. . United States and China.

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