First Disabled Astronaut Begins Training

Disability support workers on the Gold Coast we are all about empowering our clients and helping them access anything they want. We are delighted to hear that the world’s first disabled astronaut has now started training at the European national centre in Germany.

UK Paralympian 

John McFall has previously represented the UK in the Paralympics and is delighted to have been selected to train to head into space. As a young lad, John had plans to join the army, but this was curtailed when at 19, he was in a motorbike accident and sadly lost a leg above the knee. He is determined to regain his active lifestyle. He used rehabilitation to channel his interest in sports. He was able to learn to run again and gained first a bachelor’s and then a Master’s in sports and exercise science.

Paralympic Career

His skill running became apparent, and he was able to compete at the Paralympics, winning world and European titles. At the age of 28, he decided to return to education and qualify as a doctor. John specialised in orthopaedics and, in 2018, got a job in the Wessex deanery as a trauma and orthopaedic specialist registrar. However, not satisfied with what most of us would consider stellar achievements, John decided he actually wanted to reach for the stars and applied to be an astronaut.

Astronaut Selection 

The selection process for the European space agency is well known to be rigorous, and it is an achievement to have even qualified for this. For the next two years, he will be working alongside other experts to identify how the facilities and equipment used for astronaut life could be made accessible, allowing a wider range of people to access space flight. He has confirmed that his training will include the same elements as every astronaut, including hyperbaric chamber experiments, sea survival and many more. 

Delighted to Have John on the Team

The UK space agency has spoken out about their delight at having John McFall working with them. Dr Paul Bates, who is the chief executive, said. We are thrilled to be supporting John’s journey as he takes on training and feasibility studies with ESA colleagues. John’s selection as the first-ever astronaut with a physical disability is a landmark moment for the global space sector. It will help us discover new and more inclusive ways of working, demonstrating first-hand that space offers opportunities for everyone. We wish him all the best over the next two years and look forward to working closely with him.

Inspiring Others

Speaking about his appointment, John said While the feasibility study is bespoken to my own disability, this programme delivers a powerful message, which I hope will both broaden people’s appreciation of what people with disabilities can do, as well as inspire people with a range of disabilities about the opportunities available to them. My three children are really stoked to be moving to Germany and about the fact that their dad could one day go into space. It’s helping to engage them, especially my two daughters, with STEM learning, which is hugely important to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.