Eddie Ndopu has spinal muscular atrophy and has used a wheelchair for many years as a result. Despite the undeniable obstacles that come with reduced mobility, the disability rights activist is following his dreams of traveling to space. In partnership with MTV and an aerospace company, Eddie is set to go to space this December, making him the first person who uses a wheelchair to ever travel to space.
Over the years, we have read about people traveling to space and we have seen documentaries of astronauts traveling to space, but all of those people are people who don't use wheelchairs. So, Eddie Ndopu and MTV have decided to collaborate and bring his dream of traveling to space in a wheelchair to life.
Eddie Ndopu, who recently turned 27-years-old, was born with spinal muscular atrophy. At the time of his birth, doctors predicted that he would live for only five years. He has obviously exceeded that age. Eddie Ndopu now has a master's degree in public policy from Oxford University and has spent more than a decade advocating for the rights of young people with disability.
"My goal is not just to travel to space – my goal is to inspire a lot of young people with disabilities to explore space. Hopefully, in no long time from now, we will have astronauts with disabilities exploring the Moon, Mars and many other planets," Eddie Ndopu said.
During his history-making trip to space, Eddie Ndopu will speak to the U.N. General Assembly sending "a powerful message on behalf of young people everywhere who have ever felt excluded by society."
Eddie Ndopu will be followed throughout his journey by MTV videographers as he enlists an aerospace company to facilitate the mission and chronicle his thoughts and emotions about accessibility for people with disabilities across the globe.
Image credit: Photo by Author