The world’s first “parastronnaut” is Briton John McFaul, father of three

The world’s first ‘parastronaut’ is announced as John McFall – British father of three, surgical intern and Paralympic medalist.

Mr. McFaul lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident when he was 19, but learned to run again and eventually became a professional runner.

He won a bronze medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, before retiring to pursue medical studies at Cardiff University.

Today, it has been selected to participate in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Feasibility Project.

This does not mean that McFall is guaranteed to go into orbit – instead, it will be part of a blueprint to see what requirements will be possible to make it happen.

Today, John McFall (pictured), 41, has been selected to participate in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Parastronaut Feasibility project.

‘When the advert came out for an astronaut with a physical disability,’ said the 41-year-old, ‘I read the person specification and what that entailed, and I thought, wow, this is an amazing, interesting opportunity.

I thought I would be a very good candidate to help ESA answer the question they are asking; Can we transport a physically disabled person into space?

Today, the European Space Agency announced the first new cohort of 17 male and female astronauts in nearly 15 years.

Successful candidates have been selected from a pool of 22,523 applicants, including three Britons who hope to follow in the footsteps of current British astronaut Tim Peake.

Mr. McFall is one of them, selected from among 257 applicants with a physical disability for training to be the first ever expert.

As a teenager, he dreamed of joining the army, but those dreams were interrupted when he was hit by a motorbike while traveling in Koh Samui, Thailand in 2000.

The injuries to his right leg were so severe that doctors were forced to remove it.

I returned to the UK with five fewer fingers than I had left, and a piece of my right tibia and fibula in a jar of formalin. Quite a keepsake! He told the British Orthopedic Association (BOA).

After graduating in 2004, the Frimley-born McFaul became a professional athlete, representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the international stage.

After graduating in 2004, the Frimley-born McFaul became a professional athlete, representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the international stage.

McFaul ended his amazing athletic career on a high when he took home the bronze medal in the 100m at the 2008 Summer Paralympics

McFaul ended his amazing athletic career on a high when he took home the bronze medal in the 100m at the 2008 Summer Paralympics

The following year, he began studying for a degree in Exercise Science at Swansea University, and that’s when he re-taught himself how to run.

“It wasn’t pretty,” McFall told the House of Representatives.

“Running on an artificial knee and a foot designed primarily for walking requires you to do your best — you really have to commit and put in a lot of effort to do anything.”

On some occasions, the hydraulic cylinder would explode in his prosthesis and spray oil heavily on him and the track.

He was later introduced to carbon fiber running ‘blades’, and cried when he used one for the first time because it allowed him to ‘remember what it feels like to run,’ he told BOA.

After graduating in 2004, the Frimley-born man became a professional athlete, representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the international stage.

He won gold in the 100m and 200m at the IWAS World Wheelchair and Amputee Games in 2007 and also became the World Cup Paralympic Champion in the 200m.

Mr. McFaul ended his amazing athletic career on a high when he took the bronze medal in the 100m at the 2008 Summer Paralympics, with a time of 13.08 seconds.

After that, he decided he needed to get a ‘proper job’ and enrolled at Cardiff University Medical School at the age of 28.

Mr. McFall's selection was announced today at the conclusion of the European Space Agency's Council of Ministers meeting in Paris.  Pictured: members of ESA's new astronaut class Megan Christian, John McFall and Rosemary Cogan

Mr. McFall’s selection was announced today at the conclusion of the European Space Agency’s Council of Ministers meeting in Paris. Pictured: members of ESA’s new astronaut class Megan Christian, John McFall and Rosemary Cogan

Parastronatus and the European Space Agency

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.

But after conducting a feasibility study, the European Space Agency said potential candidates could include people with insufficiency of their lower limbs, whether from amputations or birth defects.

Tim Peake says he “will not have any space travel reservations with a person with a disability.”

“We didn’t evolve to be in space,” said ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

We’re all disabled in space, she said, and it’s just a case of perfecting the technology to take on candidates who would be selected to be astronauts if not for the disability.

In 2012, along with his medical studies, he became a mentor to future Paralympians as part of the Inspiration for the Paralympic programme, and was an ambassador for the London Paralympics.

After graduating two years later, he worked as an NHS institution physician in a range of medical and surgical specialties in South East Wales.

He became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 2016 and is currently a Registered Traumatologist and Orthopedist working in the South of England.

Mr McFall is married with three children, aged nine, eight and five, all of whom live in the south of the UK.

Early last year, he saw an advertisement for the European Space Agency (ESA) that said they were looking for a candidate with a disability, and said he felt “compelled to apply”.

Its selection was announced today at the conclusion of the European Space Agency’s Council of Ministers meeting in Paris.

‘I was so excited and proud of myself to have gone through the selection process,’ said Mr McFaul.

As an amputee, I never thought being a female astronaut was a possibility.

Being the first group of astronauts with a physical disability, not only do we have to go through astronaut training, but we also have to go through astronaut training and work out what physical disability makes it more difficult and overcome those obstacles. .

I am very passionate about using the skills I have to solve problems, identify problems and overcome obstacles that allow people with physical disabilities to perform the job on par with their able-bodied counterparts.

“I think the message I will give to future generations is that science is for everyone and I hope space travel is for everyone.”

Today, the European Space Agency unveiled a new class of astronauts

Today, the European Space Agency unveiled a new class of astronauts

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Minister for Space, George Freeman, said: ‘Today’s announcement of the next batch of UK ESA astronauts is a sign of international respect for both UK space scientists and the UK’s commitment to space for all.

Just as sport is the ultimate testing ground for human endeavor on Earth, space is the ultimate testing ground for science and technology.

“Just as the London 2012 Paralympic Games changed the global picture of the Paralympic Games, space is the ultimate environment to demonstrate our commitment to the values ​​of shared endeavor for the benefit of humanity and planet.”

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.

But after conducting a feasibility study, the European Space Agency said potential candidates could include people with insufficiency of their lower limbs, whether from amputations or birth defects.

The new ESA astronauts will take up their duties at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany.

After completing 12 months of basic training, new astronauts will be ready to enter the next training phase for the space station, and once assigned to a mission, their training will be tailored to specific mission tasks.

Mr McFall’s involvement will allow the European Space Agency to discover what needs to change for those who are physically disabled to fly safely.

They will initially fly to the International Space Station, but eventually they could travel to the moon, or even farther.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has secured three astronaut flights to the Lunar Gateway that are scheduled to be built in orbit around the Moon, and hopes to be able to send Europeans to the surface of a natural satellite in the future.

Who Created the ESA’s New Astronomers Group?

Professional astronauts

  • Rosemary Cogan – UK
  • Sophie Adinot – France
  • Pablo Alvarez Fernandez – Spain
  • Raphael Leygua – Belgium
  • Marco Siber – Switzerland

astronaut reservists

  • Megan Christian – UK
  • Nicola Winter – Germany
  • Marcus Wandt – Sweden
  • Anthea Comellini – Italy
  • Sara Garcia Alonso – Spain
  • Andrea Batassa – Italy
  • Carmen Bosnig – Austria
  • Arnaud Prost – France
  • Emily Schoenenwald – Germany
  • Ales Svoboda – Czech Republic
  • Slawosz Uznański – POLAND

An astronaut with a physical disability

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