John McFall, British Paralympic sprinter, has made history as the first ever disabled astronaut selected among 16 men and women for the European Space Agency’s first new class of astronauts in 13 years. McFall, who is now 41 years old, lost his right leg at the age of 19 in a motorcycle accident. In 2008, he won a Paralympic 100m bronze medal. His selection marks a leap toward the European Space Agency's pioneering ambition and commitment to send an astronaut with a physical disability into space. As he expressed himself, “it sends a really, really strong message to humanity.”
McFall explains that he feels like he is in a great position to fulfill this mission. He has spent time exploring himself emotionally and physically which has made him feel comfortable in his own skin—strong and confident that he can achieve anything he decides to.
McFall will attend a two to three year feasibility study which will examine how his physical impairment might impact mission training and consider any other modifications that are required for his safe embark to space. He will be sent to space in a minimum of 5 years.