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CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen's journey to the Moon

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Uploaded on April 3, 2023

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CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen's journey to the Moon

2023-04-03 - Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen shares his reflections on the personal and professional journey that led to his assignment to the crew of the Artemis II mission to the Moon.

Jeremy grew up in Ontario, learned to fly fighter jets in Alberta, led astronaut training in Houston, and is now part of the crew of Artemis II. Join him as he shares emotion and appreciation for his unique journey.

Jeremy will make history as the first Canadian astronaut to ever leave low Earth orbit and embark on a lunar mission. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA, 4 Wing Cold Lake, ESA CAVES – V. Crobu and S. Sechi, Ulnooweg Education Centre)

Transcript

I was born and raised on a farm in southern Ontario near London, and I can’t recall a period in my life when I didn’t want to be an astronaut.

For as long as I can remember, I was fascinated by space exploration.

I looked at a photograph of Neil Armstrong standing on the Moon, and I wanted to see what it would be like to leave this planet and look at it from beyond.

My recollection of growing up is not that I was the cool kid in school. I was more—you would call me a nerd, probably—interested in science and technology.

I was very fortunate to have a lot of people in my court, if you will — my parents, and school teachers, for example.

A lot of people were encouraging me and telling me that as a Canadian, Jeremy, you have some great opportunities.

For example, at the age of 12, my father told me about the Air Cadet Program.

Those were amazing opportunities that had a significant impact on my career.

When I left high school and started my academic pursuits at the Royal Military College in Kingston, I knew I wanted to study engineering, so I ended up taking space science, which was kind of a mix of engineering and physics all in one curriculum, and it was the best program for me. It was fascinating the entire way through.

After finishing my Bachelor’s degree, there was a delay in pilot training, so I decided to stay at the College and pursue a Master’s degree, which really was excellent timing for me, and I was able to finish that before I moved on to pilot training.

I received my military wings, and then I asked to be a fighter jet pilot.

And so I moved to Cold Lake, Alberta and started training on the CF 18. All of my fighter pilot career was actually spent in Cold Lake.

When the Canadian Space Agency announced they were looking for astronauts, I found out from a number of channels.

I actually saw it myself on CBC News.

My parents saw it in the newspaper, and I received emails and phone calls from a number of friends and colleagues who let me know that they had seen the call for applications as well.

There’s just nothing mundane about being an astronaut.

There’s always something new going on, always new tasks and new classes to take, new courses, refining skills like robotics and spacewalking.

I routinely travel back to Canada. I speak and meet with many Canadians across the country.

And I’ve been so fortunate to travel to numerous Indigenous communities and sit with elders and learn from them.

And that exchange and those experiences have taught me a profound appreciation for Indigenous knowledge.

Recently, I had the honour of leading a NASA astronaut class.

And that was such a rewarding experience, to work with new astronauts, to help them train and develop the skills they would need for spaceflight, and to watch them fly and use them in space on board the International Space Station.

And now, as an international community, we have set our sights on returning to the Moon.

We’ll explore the Moon with new technologies and tools and use it as a leaping-off point to explore further into our solar system.

I’m thrilled to be part of the next generation of space explorers to the Moon as I join the historic Artemis II mission -- the first crewed mission to leave low-Earth orbit since 1972.

I can’t wait to see our planet from afar as a backdrop to the Moon.

I am humbled and honoured for the opportunity to be the first Canadian to fly there.

These are historic times for our country.

I’m definitely looking forward to sharing my experiences with all of you.

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