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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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Veilleux, James

James Veilleux

Where were you born?
Beauceville, Quebec, Canada

Where do you currently live?
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada


  • Bachelor's, computer engineering – Laval University
  • Master's, electrical engineering – Laval University

What is your current job?

Systems Engineer at ABB, Quebec City - I build optical space-based instruments for atmospheric science, weather forecasting and environmental monitoring.

As the instrument systems engineer, I work closely with scientists to define what the instrument will be capable of doing. I also lead and define the work to be achieved by specialty engineering disciplines such as electronics, optics and mechanics throughout the execution of the project.

Why do you want to become an astronaut?

As an engineer and explorer, becoming an astronaut is simply the most appealing job there is, whether it is on the ground preparing for a mission or in space performing experiments and reaching out to fellow Canadians. Being an astronaut would allow me to test and operate some of the most complex systems ever designed and to make a difference in the lives of people on Earth.

What motivated you to study in your field?

It was the challenge and the possibility of improving technology in so many areas: telecommunications, optical instrumentation, computers, control systems and even more!

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

One of my high school science teachers encouraged me to take part in the regional science fair and in student projects. This is where I made great friends, had so much fun and learned early on what a career in science and technology would be like.

What do you like best about your job?

The fact that I have the chance to make a living from building instruments that will fly in space and to do this through collaborating with colleagues from Canada and from other countries. Also the fact that I work closely every day with so many qualified and dedicated people.

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

My personal hero is Quebec playwright Robert Lepage. Watching his plays deeply moves you as a human being and also shows you that there are no limits to genius, innovation and talent. He was a young man who grew up in a Quebec working-class neighbourhood and later became an ambassador of Canada at the international level.

What is your favourite sci-fi movie?

Contact (1997), based on the novel by Carl Sagan.

What is your motto?

You always have to work hard to reach your goals.

Canadian singer-songwriter Sam Roberts said that "there is no road that ain't a hard road to travel on."

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

What is your most treasured possession?

What is your favourite place on Earth?

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

What is your favourite book?

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