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Canadian Space Agency launches fourth ever astronaut recruitment campaign

Canadian Space Agency

For just the fourth time in its history, the Canadian Space Agency is launching a campaign to find new astronauts. But a word of warning to would-be Chris Hadfields and Julie Payettes: the requirements to zip up the suit and become the next starman are no joke.

Following a campaign that will last from June 17 to August 15, the Canadian Space Agency says it will select two people for its Canadian astronaut corps. Canada has recruited 12 astronauts through three previous campaigns. Eight of those recruits have participated in 16 space missions.

The first astronaut recruitment campaign took place in 1983, selecting six people from more than 4000 applications. Marc Garneau and Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut, were among the early recruits. The second campaign took place in 1992 and found four worthy candidates, including future celebrity space man Chris Hadfield. And the most recent recruitment happened in 2009, finding just two astronauts, Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques.

“Brilliant minds from around the world work together to imagine the future. They use science and technology as tools,” says the agency, which is clearly a fan of short, declative sentences of the sort that might be directed at a ground crew at the Kennedy Space Center. “Obstacles lead to innovation. But only a select few fly to space. Astronauts. They are problem solvers. Scientists. They are dedicated. Fearless. When their bodies want to quit, their spirit sets fire to their step. They are determined. Resilient. Where is the finish line? There is none. Astronauts train hard and charge into the unknown. They will have to adapt. To experiment.”

If you’ve recently watched Matt Damon in “The Martian” and thought “Hey, if Jason Bourne can make it in space so can I…”, you should check out the Canadian Space Agency’s list of requirements, which makes it pretty clear they are looking for genius that might be more along the lines of “Good Will Hunting”.

The CSA says the candidate should be in excellent health with a university education in science, engineering or medicine. They want a bachelors degree and/or a doctorate in medicine or dentistry. And that? That’s the easy part.

The agency also says the applicant must be between 149.5 cm and 190.5 cm tall and weigh between 50 and 95 kilograms. They also have to have 20/20 vision, blood pressure no higher than 140/90 mm, and have normal hearing.If you pass all that, the agency warns that the position calls for frequent travel outside of Canada often on short notice and for extended periods of time and you must be willing to relocate to Houston, Texas in August of 2017.

Oh, and there’s one last thing the Canadian Space Agency is looking for: Canadian values.

If you trap people in a tin can for six months –or two years going to Mars– how they treat one another, respecting some of our fundamental Canadian values, it’s really important,” says astronaut-in-training Jeremy Hansen.

Below: Launch of the fourth astronaut recruitment campaign in Canada

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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