Canada selects two new astronauts

On July 1, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named two new astronauts who will join Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques as part of Canada’s corps of space explorers. After a year-long evaluation, the Canadian Space Agency has selected Jenni Sidey and Joshua Kutryk from among 17 finalists and 3,772 applicants to be Canada’s newest astronauts.

Born in Calgary, Alta., Dr. Jenni Sidey studied at McGill University in Montreal, Que., and at the University of Cambridge, U.K., where she was an engineer and lecturer until being recruited as an astronaut. Canadian Space Agency Photos
Born in Calgary, Alta., Dr. Jenni Sidey studied at McGill University in Montreal, Que., and at the University of Cambridge, U.K., where she was an engineer and lecturer until being recruited as an astronaut. Canadian Space Agency Photos
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Born in Calgary, Alta., Sidey studied at McGill University in Montreal, Que., and at the University of Cambridge, U.K., where she was an engineer and lecturer until being recruited as an astronaut.

LCol Kutryk hails from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. He studied at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont., as well as in Florida and Alabama. Prior to joining the Canadian Space Program, Kutryk worked as an experimental test pilot and a fighter pilot in Cold Lake, Alta., and as a CF-18 fighter pilot in Bagotville, Que.

Trudeau made the historic announcement on Parliament Hill during Canada Day celebrations to mark the nation’s 150th anniversary. He was joined by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, who is responsible for Canada’s space program.

Prior to joining the Canadian Space Program, LCol Joshua Kutryk worked as an experimental test pilot and a fighter pilot in Cold Lake, Alta., and as a CF-18 fighter pilot in Bagotville, Que.
Prior to joining the Canadian Space Program, LCol Joshua Kutryk worked as an experimental test pilot and a fighter pilot in Cold Lake, Alta., and as a CF-18 fighter pilot in Bagotville, Que.

The nation’s newest astronauts are being named as space agencies around the world identify options for future missions that go beyond the International Space Station.

These new recruits will be part of the next generation of space explorers that pushes the limits of science and technology while advancing public understanding of our universe. In the process, they will inspire young Canadians to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Canada’s space program is part of the Government of Canada’s investments in science and technology under the Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

“As we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, we also look towards an exciting future of space exploration,” said Trudeau. “We are a society of creative thinkers, explorers, innovators. As we embark on Canada’s next 150 years and beyond, we can count on these two Canadians to help shape our future.”

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Bains added, “Canada’s participation in space is important for scientific discovery and innovation. The technologies that are designed for space today can one day be used to improve the lives of all Canadians. These innovations also have the potential to create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians.

“Our country’s newest astronauts will play a key role in advancing space technologies while pushing the frontiers of scientific knowledge,” he continued. “That’s how Canada’s space program drives innovation for a better Canada.”

Quick facts

  • Sidey and Kutryk become Canada’s 13th and 14th astronauts. Starting in August 2017, they will embark on two years of training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center;
  • Canada’s newest astronauts could eventually participate in missions to the International Space Station and other missions into deep space. They could also travel on commercial spacecraft;
  • Canada’s fourth astronaut recruitment campaign was launched in June 2016. The search attracted 3,772 applicants from a variety of backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics;
  • In Budget 2016, the Government of Canada invested $379 million over eight years to extend Canada’s participation in the International Space Station until 2024; and
  • In 2018, David Saint-Jacques will become the next Canadian astronaut to take part in a long-duration mission aboard the Space Station.

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