History of the Canadian astronaut corps
In 1974, NASA sought out Canadian expertise for the development of a robotic arm, the famous Canadarm. That marked the beginning of a close collaboration between Canada and the United States in human space flight.
Not long after, NASA invited a Canadian astronaut to participate in a space mission. That invitation led to the creation of the first team of Canadian astronauts in 1983.
In total, Canada has recruited 14 astronauts through four campaigns, and 8 of those exceptional people have participated in 16 space missions.
First astronaut recruitment campaign
More than 4,000 people responded to the call for astronauts in 1983.
After a rigorous hiring period, the following people were selected based on their exceptional academic backgrounds, professional experience, health, and communication skills:
Second astronaut recruitment campaign
In 1992, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced that it would recruit four more individuals to undergo astronaut training. Over 5,000 Canadians applied.
After a six-month selection process, four candidates were selected:
Third astronaut recruitment campaign
In March 2008, after some of Canada's seasoned astronauts had retired, the time had come to recruit new members: the CSA launched a new recruitment campaign.
Once again, a large number of Canadians responded: over 5,000 applications were received.
After a lengthy selection process that took about a year, Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques were chosen in May 2009. They are the CSA's two active astronauts and are based at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Jeremy works at Mission Control Center as capcom. Eventually, he will be assigned to a space mission.
David is preparing for his first six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
Fourth astronaut recruitment campaign
In , the CSA announced its fourth astronaut recruitment campaign, and 3,772 people from all provinces and territories applied.
After a year of demanding tests and evaluations, two candidates were selected in to become the new Canadian astronauts:
In , the two recruits will report to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to begin their basic training, which will last approximately two years.
Life after space
Retired astronauts don't necessarily stop working! They generally pursue professional activities in line with their expertise.
For example, they can:
- work in academia, the medical field, or another area of activity in astronautics;
- speak at schools;
- contribute actively to science.
Find out more about our former Canadian astronauts and their careers.
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