Meet Canada’s newest astronauts

Jennifer Sidey and Joshua Kutryk introduced on Saturday by Prime Minister Trudeau during Canada 150 celebrations
astronauts Joshua-Kutryk-and-Jennifer-Sidey Joshua Kutryk and Jennifer Sidey passed a year's worth of tests to be selected. (Canadian Space Agency)


"I want to be an astronaut!"

Many of us have said these words at some point in our lives. But in truth, being an astronaut is a rare, demanding job. In fact, can you guess how many active astronauts there are in Canada?

Two.

That's it! Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques are the only Canadians who are ready to be assigned to space missions (David just got his first assignment last year—he launches in November 2018).

This makes what happened on Saturday really thrilling news. That number of astronauts? Well, it just doubled.

Meet Jennifer Sidey and Joshua Kutryk—Canada's newest astronauts!

Houston, we have some recruits!

astronauts Joshua Kutryk

Joshua worked as an experimental test pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force before being selected. (Royal Canadian Air Force)

Unlike Jeremy and David, Jennifer, 29 in August, and Joshua, 35, are not yet ready for assignment. Next month, they'll be sent to Houston, Texas, where they'll begin a two-year training process for this amazing career. Fellow Canadian Jeremy Hansen will be one of the people helping to train them, too!

The pair were selected after only the fourth astronaut recruitment campaign in Canadian history. On June 17, 2016, 3,772 people applied for only two positions. No wonder it took the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) a year to make their choices!

Full of excitement

Jennifer Sidey astronauts

Jennifer concentrates during one of her many tests during the astronaut selection process. (Canadian Space Agency)

Jennifer and Joshua had to pass numerous tests and trials that measured the strengths and limits of their bodies and minds. And the tests were very challenging! Being an astronaut is a job that requires not only excellent intellectual and physical abilities, but also the ability to handle stress, frustration, and exhaustion.

It was a long process, but both of them could not be more excited! Just like so many of us, both of them dreamed of being astronauts as kids. So even if going to space is rare, it's reassuring to know that these dreams can come true.

Congrats, Jennifer and Joshua! Watch them talk about the selection process, their inspiration, and their future on CBC News below.


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