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 9 of those exceptional people have participated in 17 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 now based at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
In , Jeremy Hansen became the first Canadian to be entrusted with leading a NASA astronaut class.
David Saint-Jacques flew to the International Space Station on , as a crewmember of Expedition 58. He spent 204 days in space, the longest Canadian space mission to date.
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 started their two-year basic training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Joshua and Jenni completed the Astronaut Candidate Training Program and obtained the official title of astronaut in .
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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