The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to recruit more female astronauts after an 11-year hiatus to increase diversity.
“We’re targeting the Moon and Mars,” said Jan Worner, ESA Executive Director. “We need great astronauts to reach our goal of having a broader perspective and to reach further than we have been until now,” he said.
Pointing out that the fact that only 65 of the 560 people who go to space today are women and 51 of these 65 women are American creates an imbalance, ESA wants to employ female astronauts in order to recover from this imbalance. ESA has only sent Claudie Haigneré and Samantha Cristoforetti to space so far.
ESA stated that “the time has come” and that it is aimed to send disabled individuals to space with the Parastronaut Feasibility Project initiative. This is the first time a space agency will employ people with disabilities.
“Representing the whole of society is something we take seriously,” said David Parker, Director of Human and Robotics Discovery, ESA. “At ESA, astronaut diversity will not only be limited to gender, race, age and background, but will also include physical disabilities.”
Collaborating with the International Paralympic Committee, ESA announced that it will search for suitable disabled candidates by categorizing different types and degrees of disability. After the study, the red, yellow and green engl categories will be created, while the red category will cover the obstacles that cannot become an astronaut, the yellow category will cover the obstacles that can become astronauts after some adjustments, and the green category will cover the obstacles that are suitable for going into space.
British astronaut Tim Peake stated that ESA’s approach is positive and that equal conditions will be created for everyone to fly into space.
ESA announced that the application process will take 18 months and at the end of the process, two interviews will be held with the candidates.
Source: Dünya Gazetesi by www.dunya.com.
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