Disabled applicants wanted for out of this world position with the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (Esa) is looking to recruit a member of the team that identifies disabled, as part of their call for new astronauts.

Do you have a master’s degree (or higher) in Natural Sciences, Medicine, Engineering, Mathematics or Computer Sciences? Or are you qualified as an experimental test pilot? 

Then this breakthrough opportunity to become an astronaut with the Esa could be for you.

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


Barriers in the past, including people with lower limb deficiency or those who have restricted growth are now actively being encouraged to apply. 

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

“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 added. 

“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.”


Esa is looking to modernise, and ensuring that all members of society are visible in the organisation.

Applications are being accepted to join the Esa from 31 March to 28 May – you can find out more on how to apply here.

At least four individuals will go straight into the ESA astronaut corps, based in Cologne, Germany. A further 20 candidates will be placed as reserves. 

The training will also include lessons on learning Russian, which is the other language used on the space station.

UK astronaut, who joined the Esa corps in 2009, Tim Peake told BBC News: “We’re involved in the Artemis programme, which will send humans back to the surface of the Moon, and that’s a gateway to Mars. So, this [draft] could be recruiting the first Europeans who will set foot on Mars.”

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