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Astronaut candidate's profile

The candidates participating in the astronaut selection process all have unique journeys and outstanding qualities and skills. You can read their remarkable profiles here.

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Frenzel, Francis James

Francis James Frenzel

Where were you born?
Newmarket, Ontario, Canada

Where do you currently live?
Petersburg, Ontario, Canada


  • Bachelor's, physics & English language and literature – Western University
  • Master's, aerospace engineering – University of Toronto

What is your current job?

Pilot-in-training, Royal Canadian Air Force - In between training I am posted to Canadian Forces Base Trenton, where I work in operations. I help coordinate the flights of Canada's largest squadron.

Why do you want to become an astronaut?

It is inherently human to want to explore and discover the unknown. As powerful as these experiences can be while bound to Earth, it is a profound and beautiful pursuit to push human capabilities into such an exotic and unforgiving environment as space. It truly is "the final frontier." I love this country and take pride in serving the nation; what better way to do so than by inspiring the next generation of dreamers?

If you could pick one place to explore in our solar system where would you go?

What motivated you to study in your field?

Since childhood I've been fascinated by the development of space technologies. Couple this with a passion for intelligent robotics, and it is no surprise that I completed my master's at the University of Toronto's Space Robotics Lab under Professor D'Eleuterio.

I completed my undergraduate in both physics and English literature because I believe these disciplines provide a well-rounded educational experience, coupling the most fundamental scientific knowledge with the most profound truths of the human experience.

Think back to a teacher who had a positive impact on your life. What did she/he do to influence you?

While I was only fortunate enough to have him teach me math and art for one year, I will never forget the impact Mr. Abbobot had on my education. First and foremost, he was enthusiastic and passionate about everything he did. This was contagious and when the children saw how interesting the teacher found the material, everyone was motivated to learn all they could. Secondly, by teaching both math and art, he covered a spectrum of topics and conveyed the message that you should learn whatever you want, but put your all into it at every moment.

What do you like best about your job?

Two things stand out about my job with the Royal Canadian Air Force. I take a great deal of pride in being able to contribute directly to Canada. Growing up in Canada gave me a wealth of opportunities, and it is gratifying to give back, ensuring that future generations are able to enjoy the same livelihood I was fortunate enough to have. I also value the emphasis within the Canadian Armed Forces on professional development and education. I have taken many full-time courses, and this is critically important as lifelong learning is fundamental to being the best you can.

Which living person do you most admire? OR Who are your heroes in real life?

My parents.

What is your favourite sci-fi movie?

Total Recall… the old one… with Arnold.

What is your motto?

Two things in life shall never frustrate or inhibit you: that which you can help, and that which you cannot.

At what age did you decide to become an astronaut?

What is the best career advice you've ever received?

As typical as it may sound, chase your dreams and do what you love. No matter what the pay, the chances of actually getting the job, or how difficult the road is to get there, you have to chase what you want. You owe it to yourself. With only one life to live, how can you not decide to do something you are passionate about?

What is your most treasured possession?

My library.

What is your favourite place on Earth?

My two best friends have neighbouring cottages on Lake Huron near Kincardine, Ontario. The three of us basically grew up there during the summers. Every time we are there it is easy to reflect on the past and the direction in which we have steered our lives.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Climbing Gunung Agung in Bali through the night and reaching the top with enough time to watch the entire sunrise from the summit.

What is your favourite book?

Dante's Divine Comedy.

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