Basic Training Program

Back to "school" for our new astronauts!

On August 24, 2009, David Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen reported to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to begin a two-year journey to join with the current astronaut corps in future exploration missions. Visit our image gallery to follow their training.

The Basic Training Program, which starts at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and continues at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, focuses on bringing astronaut candidates from different backgrounds to the same level of knowledge and skills by covering a wide range of topics that include:

  • CSA Orientation
  • History of Space Flight
  • Fundamentals of Space Flight
  • Current Space Programs
  • 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
  • SCUBA Diving
  • Physical Training
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Language Training
  • Operation of Photographic Equipment
  • Public Speaking and Media Relations
  • Survival Training (summer and winter)
Canadian astronaut Julie Payette trains with the Canadian Mobile Servicing System MSS Operations and Training Simulator (MOTS). CSA astronauts Mike McKay, left, and Bjarni Tryggvason crouch in front of a shelter during winter survival training near Hinton, Alberta. One of the many skills astronauts need to develop: Bob Thirsk in parachute training.

Upon successful completion of the Basic Training Program, candidates are given the title of "astronaut." They then progress to International Space Station (ISS) advanced training.