Europe's Space Agency to hire first disabled astronaut

The European Space Agency hopes to hire the world's first disabled astronaut

as part of a 22-member space programme

The ESA has closed its latest recruitment call for astronauts

having received over 22,000 applicants

Date: 24 June, 2021

Location: Berlin, Germany

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEWLY-APPOINTED HEAD OF THE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY, JOSEF ASCHBACHER, SAYING:

"We got a few hundred applicants also for what we call para astronauts or astronauts or possible astronauts with a physical handicap. We have a number of handicaps which we identified that would qualify for that. Of course, mentally, they need to be absolutely fit in order to do the tough job in space. What we will do is we will launch a feasibility study to see how their physical handicap would be working in space and whether they can do an astronaut's job in space with with a disability they have. This, of course, depends on the person, and this will be the first step in order to identify what can be done. And then eventually, yes, we would like to launch an astronaut with a disability, which would be the first time ever that this happens. And it's quite unique. But I'm also very happy for ESA because it shows that space is for everyone. And that's something that I really would like to convey as a message."

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