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20th - 21st March 2024
NEC, Birmingham

CPD Member 


One giant leap for mankind – The work underway to make spaceflight accessible and how you can get involved

22 Mar 2023
Main Stage

The recent announcement of British amputee John McFall as the first European Space Agency ‘Parastronaut’ has brought disability and spaceflight together for the first time in the public eye. Spaceflight, low earth orbit, travelling to the moon and Mars and beyond, are coming in our lifetimes. Mankind is driven to explore and travel to new places. As an inclusive society we need to make sure that people with disabilities can participate in this exciting field of exploration. The European Space Agency (ESA) and the UK Space Agency (UKSA) are engaging with the disabled community to explore what is safe and practical. Key questions need to be answered – What are the physiological concerns for a parastronaut before, during and after space flight? Which disabilities are suitable and safe for spaceflight? Projects are now underway to start to answer these questions, and working with the disabled community is key. This session will present some of the challenges, the current state of the research, and also highlight how to get involved.

Irene Di Giulio, Lecturer in Anatomy and Biomechanics, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine - King's College London
Mike Miller-Smith MBE, Chief Executive - Aerobility