In Science and Space: A British man becomes the European Space Agency’s first disabled astronaut.
The 41-year-old lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident when he was 19 and went on to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Paralympics.
John McFaul, from Frimley, Surrey, was selected to participate in ESA’s training program and may become the first disabled person to go to space.
No major Western space agency has ever sent a “quasi-astronaut” into space, according to the ESA.
She is one of her six professional astronauts to join ESA’s full-time staff.
Professional astronauts also include France’s Sophie Adenotto, Spain’s Pablo Alvarez Fernandez, Belgium’s Rafael Liegois and Switzerland’s Marco Sieber. Born in the UK and educated in Australia, Meghan Christian has successfully completed the astronaut selection process and will be a member of ESA’s Astronaut Sanctuary. The preliminary team consists of candidates who have successfully gone through the selection process and have not been hired.
They were one of her more than 22,500 applicants, including more women than ever before and about 200 people with disabilities. After an extensive screening stage, approximately 1,361 people were invited to the second stage of her ESA astronaut selection. In Phase 3, the pool was narrowed down to her 400-strong candidates. When ESA recruited astronauts in 2008, 8,413 people submitted medical certificates and completed an online application.
Among them was Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to join his ESA squadron. Finalists underwent intensive judging last year.
“Space is an incredible inspiration and we are confident that Rosemary, John and Meghanne will be heroes to many young people and inspire them to aim for the stars. “It’s also important to remember that behind every astronaut, including in the UK, there is a dedicated team working behind the scenes to achieve incredible things.”
“Through our investment in the European Space Agency, the UK is at the forefront of space exploration, working with international partners to harness the unique perspective of space to benefit life on Earth.” Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the British Space Agency, said: “Today is an important day for the British Space Agency, the space sector and the country at large.