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CSA astronaut Joshua Kutryk: a story of determination

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Uploaded on November 14, 2023

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CSA astronaut Joshua Kutryk: a story of determination

In 2009, Joshua Kutryk was in the running to become an astronaut. He was not selected, but he didn't let himself get discouraged. 

He tried again eight years later when the CSA launched another astronaut recruitment campaign. This time, his determination paid off.

In this video, Joshua Kutryk explains where he gets his strength of character and perseverance. From his childhood in Alberta to his training as an astronaut, he talks about the people and moments that changed his life and pushed him to follow his dreams, even the most ambitious ones. He will soon go on a mission of about six months to the International Space Station. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA, Department of National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces, Kutryk family)

Transcript

I’m from a family of four children.

Our parents always encouraged 

us to do what we love most and to go out and seek out many new experiences.

My name is Joshua Kutryk, and I’m a Canadian Space Agency astronaut.

I grew up on a farm in Alberta, in the Prairies, and I would tell you that there the sky stretches out as far as the eye can see.

One of my fondest memories is feeding cattle on winter nights, looking up and seeing so many stars.

From a very young age, I was fascinated with the sky, and I was fascinated with outer space.

As a child I dreamed of being an astronaut, but as a goal, it felt to like something that was maybe too hard, impossibly difficult.

However, I was very interested in space exploration still, and in school, I loved math, I loved physics and I loved science.

I was curious about how the world works – about how the universe works.

And I was always fascinated with the sky, that big Prairie sky, which is so vast in Alberta.

As a teenager, I learned to fly in the Cadet program.

And then, when I was 18, I joined the Canadian Armed Forces.

I attended the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, and I studied mechanical engineering.

Then I went on to become a fighter pilot, and after that I became an experimental test pilot and I worked assessing and improving aircraft like the F-18.

In 2008, I found out that the Canadian Space Agency was recruiting new astronauts. I knew right away, I thought to myself that this was for me. I had to try.

At the end of that selection process, I was one of 16 final candidates, but I was not chosen. 

That year, David Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen were recruited.

And I, of course, I was so very disappointed about not being chosen.

So, that was difficult to accept, but the things I moved on to, in hindsight, I think that they only helped prepare me even more to eventually try out again.

I had to be patient, and I had to study more, and I had to work even harder.

I got a few master's degrees, including a master's degree in space studies, and I also took part in several different international missions as a fighter pilot.

David Saint-Jacques : Canada is looking for new astronauts.

In 2016, the Canadian Space Agency launched another astronaut recruitment campaign.

The process lasted for a year. It was very intense. We were pushed to our absolute limits.

In the end, Jenni and I were selected.

Justin Trudeau : Please join me in welcoming Jenni Sidey and Joshua Kutryk!

My father is the one who gave me my determination and my love for exploration. Sadly, he passed away about a year before I was selected as an astronaut.

And I believe today that he would have been very proud of me.

As an astronaut. I have to constantly study, constantly train, in order to support space activities.

I'm also lucky enough to meet Canadians of all ages and to talk to them about the importance of space exploration, about the importance of science.

When I go on school visits, I look into these kids’ eyes, and I see that same thing, that same curiosity that I had at their age and that I think I still have today.

And I tell the kids how lucky they are to be growing up at this point in history because there are so many new opportunities in space.

I’m proud and incredibly honoured to have been selected to go on a mission to the International Space Station.

It’s important for Canada to participate in these missions. The studies we conduct there are furthering our knowledge in the medical field and are helping us to better understand our own home, planet Earth.

It's a stepping-stone for future missions to the Moon, and someday, all the way to Mars.

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