For the first time in 11 years, the European Space Agency (ESA) is actively recruiting new astronauts, including for the first time in human history, a physically disabled team member.
Applications for aspiring astro- and para-nauts will open on March 31 for a period of eight weeks, after which the six-stage selection process will begin.
“We did not evolve to go to space so when it comes to space travel, we are all disabled,” said Captain Samantha Cristoforetti, an Italian European Space Agency astronaut.
Candidates are required to have knowledge of or a degree in at least one of the following: physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or medicine.
The agency is also opening applications to the physically disabled who meet the expertise requirements, including those who have single or double foot or leg deficiency, and persons of short stature (<130 cm). The move was widely feted and championed across Twitter this week.
ESA announce their aspiration to launch the Parastronaut Project, with an aim to select a physically disabled individual to initially join the Reserve cadre, and properly explore how to take physically disabled humans to Space. Inclusivity at its very best. Superb initiative. https://t.co/XY0SrpGYls
— Director Space, UK (@HarvSmyth) February 16, 2021
With disabled astronauts potentially going to space, I need all of the information on adaptive spacesuits. https://t.co/5yJCDQePGi
— Sinéad Burke (@TheSineadBurke) February 17, 2021
However progressive the move may have been for many, some are never happy it seems, with the extremely woke brigade seizing the opportunity to point out the shortcomings of the initiative, namely, that only the physically and not the mentally disabled could apply.
It’s all fine and great for the @esa having a new search for astronauts and the parastronaut program but the recruitment procress is discrimatory as they reject people with mental health disabilities like autism/aspergers etc. Why can’t I realise my dream of going into space?
— TigerMacZ. (@TigerMacZ) February 16, 2021
No not at this time, only physical. For the parastronaut feasibility project ESA is looking for individual(s) who are psychologically, cognitively, technically and professionally qualified to be an astronaut.
— ESA (@esa) February 16, 2021
Others took the opportunity to highlight structural discrimination in the education system which precludes many already disadvantaged children from ever realizing their dreams of becoming astronauts.
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