Astronauts' Basic Training

Training

When the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) selects new candidates, the aspiring astronauts must first go back to school!

All recruits must follow a three-phase training program:

  1. Astronauts' basic training
  2. Ongoing training and tasks while awaiting a mission
  3. Mission-specific training

Finally, trained astronauts who have received an assignment may go to space to participate in a mission.

While all candidates have exceptional profiles, their backgrounds are extremely varied. The aim of the basic training program, which lasts approximately two years, is to ensure that all astronauts attain the same level of knowledge and expertise on a wide range of subjects.

Training is given in two locations:

  • CSA headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec
  • NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas

Photos

Photo 1

"Class photo" of David Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen in 2009

"Class photo" of David Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen, along with other astronaut candidates recruited by NASA and JAXA in 2009, in a parabolic aircraft. (Credit: NASA)

Photo 2

David Saint-Jacques' first NBL training

CSA Astronaut David Saint-Jacques during his first spacewalk training at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) in Houston, Texas. (Credit: NASA)

Photo 3

Astronaut Bob Thirsk during parachute training

CSA astronaut Bob Thirsk demonstrates parachute training as one of the many skills astronauts acquire. (Credit: NASA)

Photo 4

Astronaut Marc Garneau during a parabolic flight

CSA astronaut Marc Garneau floats in zero gravity during a parabolic flight aboard a KC-135 aircraft. These flights are part of the training for astronauts and demonstrate the weightlessness environment. (Credit: NASA)

Photo 5

CSA Astronauts David Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen

CSA Astronauts David Saint-Jacques (left) and Jeremy Hansen during trauma response training at McGill University's Medical Simulation Centre in Montreal, Quebec. (Credit: CSA)

Photo 6

David Saint-Jacques

CSA's David Saint-Jacques takes a break during a four-day of Land Survival Training at the Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine. The 2009 Astronaut Candidate class reported to NASA's Johnson Space Center to begin a two year training program on August 24, 2009. (Credit: NASA)

Photo 7

David Saint-Jacques visiting Space Shuttle Atlantis

David Saint-Jacques and some of his fellow astronaut candidates take a minute to pose with Space Shuttle Atlantis at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC). (Credit: NASA)

Photo 8

Water Survival Training

David Saint-Jacques and fellow astronaut candidates listen to an instructor before a helicopter crash simulation during water survival training. (Credit: NASA)

Photo 9

David Saint-Jacques in a simulator Cockpit

David Saint-Jacques listens to an instructor while sitting in a simulator cockpit during water survival training. (Credit: NASA)

Photo 10

David Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen training

CSA's David Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen share a laugh with a colleague during a four-day of Land Survival Training at the Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine. (Credit: NASA)

Photo 11

David Saint-Jacques - Water Survival Training

David Saint-Jacques during water survival training at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

Photo 12

Jeremy Hansen training

CSA's Jeremy Hansen is shown perfecting his water purifying skills during a four-day of Land Survival Training at the Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine. (Credit: NASA)

Photo 13

David Saint-Jacques with NASA's 2009 ASCAN class

David Saint-Jacques learns about the Mobile Servicing System at CSA headquarters. (Credit: CSA)

Photo 14

NASA's 2009 ASCAN class

NASA's 2009 astronaut candidate (ASCAN) class learns about the Mobile Servicing System at CSA headquarters. (Credit: CSA)

List of photos

The "lesson plan"

Basic training covers many subjects, including:

  • CSA orientation
  • History of space flight
  • Fundamentals of space flight
  • Space operations and procedures
  • International Space Station systems
  • Life science
  • Materials and fluid science
  • Earth observation
  • Space science
  • Robotics
  • Human behaviour and performance
  • Flight training
  • Parachute jumps
  • Physical training
  • First aid and CPR
  • Language training (e.g. learning Russian)
  • Operation of photographic equipment
  • Media relations
  • Survival training

Obtaining the title of "astronaut"

Upon successful completion of the basic training program, candidates are officially given the title of astronaut.

Next step: Ongoing training and tasks on Earth while awaiting a mission!

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