European Space Agency: Astronaut recruitment drive for greater diversity – BBC News

The European Space Agency says it wants to recruit someone with a disability as part of its call for new astronauts.

Esa will be accepting applications in March to fill four-to-six vacancies in its astro corps but it wants this draft process to be as inclusive as possible.

The search for a potential flier with additional functional needs will be run in parallel to the main call.

The agency has asked the International Paralympic Committee to advise it on selection.

“To be absolutely clear, we’re not looking to hire a space tourist that happens also to have a disability,” said Dr David Parker, the director of Esa’s robotics and human spaceflight programme.

“To be very explicit, this individual would do a meaningful space mission. So, they would need to do the science; they would need to participate in all the normal operations of the International Space Station (ISS).

“This is not about tokenism,” he told BBC News. “We have to be able to justify to all the people who fund us – which is everybody, including people who happen to be disabled – that what we’re doing is somehow meaningful to everybody.”

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