European Space Agency’s new class of astronauts revealed


European Space Agency’s new astronauts REVEALED: Class of 17 includes 8 women and a British ‘parastronaut’ with a physical disability

  • The European Space Agency has revealed its new class of astronauts 
  • They are the first cohort in almost 15 years and include the first ‘parastronaut’
  • People with physical disabilities have previously been excluded from spaceflight
  • The astronauts chosen were whittled down from a whopping 22,523 applicants

Two Britons – including the first ever ‘parastronaut’ – are among the European Space Agency’s first new cohort of astronauts in almost 15 years.

John McFall and Rosemary Coogan join current British astronaut Tim Peake, who spent six months on the International Space Station in 2016.

Mr McFall had to have his right leg amputated following a motorbike accident at the age of 19.

He learned to run again and became a professional track and field athlete in 2005, going on to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a Paralympic sprinter.

Mr McFall has a background in sports and exercise science and completed his bachelor’s degree from Swansea University. 

He became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 2016 and is currently a Trauma and Orthopaedic Specialist Registrar working in the south of England. 

People with physical disabilities have previously been excluded from one of the most exclusive and demanding jobs on Earth – and beyond – due to strict selection requirements. 

The ESA Astronaut Class of 2022 was announced at 15:40 CET (14:40 GMT) during the agency’s ministerial council in Paris. 

Ready to lift-off: The European Space Agency has revealed its new class of astronauts

A British man has been named as the first 'parastronaut' by the European Space Agency. John McFall has a background in sports and exercise science and completed his bachelor's degree from Swansea University

A British man has been named as the first ‘parastronaut’ by the European Space Agency. John McFall has a background in sports and exercise science and completed his bachelor’s degree from Swansea University

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