Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Please join me in welcoming Jenni Sidey and Joshua Kutryk!
Jenni Sidey: That was such a proud moment, to stand up there with Josh and the Prime Minister and Minister and Shania as well. That was – that was pretty cool.
Jeremy Hansen: Hi. I'm Jeremy Hansen. The year-long selection process is finally over, and the Canadian Space Agency has chosen their next two astronauts.
Jenni Sidey: My name is Jenni Sidey. I was born in Calgary, and I'm an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency.
Joshua Kutryk: My name's Joshua Kutryk. I was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and I'm an astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency.
Unidentified Male: Right there?
Jeremy Hansen: So what we're going to do is kind of go chronologically through this. So why don't you tell me a little bit about Ottawa?
Joshua Kutryk: I'd start by saying that the news probably took a little while to sink in. I think it's still sinking in. But there were certain points during that day that were, you know, cause you to come to reckon – reckon with the reality of what was happening.
Dave Williams: Real pleasure meeting you.
Joshua Kutryk: The morning we came down to the hotel lobby, we were greeted by you and Dave Williams, which was a wonderful surprise. And that's just one of those instances that I think I'll remember for my whole life, to meet someone like Dave, and then to just start going through all the – the whirlwind of activities that followed. You can reflect on that and realize very clearly that things changed then, right at that moment.
Jeremy Hansen: All right, guys. The big moment.
Jenni Sidey: We received our flight suits, and that was pretty special. And you're kind of in this state of disbelief. Like Josh says, it takes a while to sink in.
Jeremy Hansen: And so I'd like to present you with your –
Jenni Sidey: Wow!
Jeremy Hansen: – Canadian astronaut flight suits.
Joshua Kutryk: Thank you, Jeremy.
Jeremy Hansen: So –
Jenni Sidey: Thank you so much!
Jeremy Hansen: – congrats again.
Jenni Sidey: Thank you!
Jeremy Hansen: So happy to have you on board.
Jenni Sidey: Up to then it had been pretty secret, and it's this pretty big secret to keep. I mean, it's exciting, and you're trying to hide it from everyone, secretly come to Ottawa, which was difficult. And then you're preparing for this day where you get to share that secret with everyone and really address your country.
Back in 1992, Roberta Bondar flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery.
And I remember looking up to her, being excited at the idea of being a scientist, being a Canadian, and having the opportunity to explore places beyond our world.
Then I got this phone call from Roberta Bondar, which was quite casual actually, but I didn't really know what to do with it. Because I've spoken about Roberta Bondar and how important she was to me when I was growing up. And when I got on the phone with her, she knew that I had been looking up to her and that she was a special person for me, and she gave me some good advice and – and just told me about the adventure I was about to go on.
I'm grateful to have had that role model. And that memory makes this moment so powerful for me as a woman and as a Canadian.
Joshua Kutryk: Throughout the recruitment campaign, Jenni and I met some amazing Canadians. There is so much talent in this country. Now, I'm proud to have served Canada as part of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and today I'm very proud to be joining the Canadian Space Agency.
Jenni Sidey: That was exceptional, you know, a really wonderful way to sum up the whole year, to have just been involved in the process and have it finish off like that. That was wonderful.
Joshua Kutryk: We knew what was going to happen that morning. We knew we were going to walk in and be greeted by the entire organization of the Canadian Space Agency. But it's one of those things that nothing – you know, no – no amount of knowing prepares you for what it actually feels like to walk in and to be greeted in that way.
I've started new jobs before, but I've never, ever in my life received this kind of a welcome on day one.
Jenni Sidey: Coming back to the CSA with this sort of success to share with everyone who's been working behind the scenes, but also directly with us, and some people that we've gotten to know, but also people that we've never had the opportunity to meet before, and to be able to celebrate with them and – and share it, that's not something that I'm going to forget.
Joshua Kutryk: We stood outside and – and we talked with young people, many of them children of people who work at the Canadian Space Agency. And it was – it was very fulfilling, but it was also a learning experience for us, to – to see firsthand just how much of an impact we could have on people.
Jeremy Hansen: You know, moving to Houston and Johnson Space Center, what will be the coolest aspects of that?
Jenni Sidey: One of the things I've been looking forward to is joining the class. So joining the other astronaut candidates from NASA and coming in as two Canadians will be, I think, pretty fun. But also just to share their experiences. They all have pretty diverse backgrounds, and that's going to be a lot of fun.
Joshua Kutryk: Yeah, it's a very neat, exciting, unique opportunity. Chris Hadfield the other day said something about it. He's like in the whole seven and a half billion people on this planet, there's just the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest, tiniest little sliver of people who are involved with this great adventure, human space flight. And he's like, you know what, so many of them are in this one tiny, little spot, and it's the spot we're moving to. I can't wait for that first day. I think it's going to be a lifelong memory to actually drive past the Johnson Space Center sign and – and realize that that's – I'm not there for a tour but I'm there to work.
Jeremy Hansen: Josh and Jenni have worked extremely hard to become Canada's next astronauts. But I have to tell you the hard work is far from over. Now it's time for them to pack up and hit the road for Houston. Their ride of a lifetime is about to begin.