Canadian Astronaut Corps

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The Canadian Astronaut Corps is a unit of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) that selects, trains, and provides astronauts as crew members for U.S. and Russian space missions.[1] The corps has four active members, able to serve on the International Space Station (ISS).


The original 6 astronauts selected in 1983 were under the auspices of the National Research Council of Canada. They were transferred to the Canadian Space Agency when it was established in 1989.

Since 1984, when Marc Garneau became the first Canadian in space, nine CSA astronauts have flown on US NASA Space Shuttles and on Russian Soyuz rockets in 15 missions.[2][3]

In May 2009, Robert Thirsk flew to the International Space Station (ISS) for a six-month stay, thus becoming the first Canadian to stay aboard the ISS for an extended period. On December 1, 2009, after spending 188 days in space, Robert Thirsk returned to Earth aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian Commander of the ISS, would go on to achieve worldwide fame in 2013 for releasing a music video he recorded on the International Space Station of his version of David Bowie's song "Space Oddity". Astronaut Julie Payette would go on to serve as the Governor General of Canada, and Garneau would become Minister of Foreign Affairs.


The Astronauts Corps is one of seven main divisions within the CSA. In addition to its Astronaut Corps, one of the most prominent contributions of Canada to space exploration is the robotic arm on the US space shuttles, the Canadarm.

There are four active astronauts in the Corps (Jeremy Hansen, David Saint-Jacques, Joshua Kutryk and Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons) and ten former astronauts who have gone into space.[4] Of the 11 current and former Canadian astronauts who have gone into space, 2 are women: Julie Payette and Roberta Bondar.


The CSA generally recruits astronauts who have degrees as scientists, engineers and/or medical doctors.[5] In addition to being Canadian citizens or residents, candidates must meet certain physical standards (including height, weight, hearing and visual acuity) as well as educational requirements.


Active astronauts[edit]

The CSA has four active astronauts. David Saint-Jacques launched to the ISS on Soyuz MS-11 in December of 2018; the other three have yet to fly their first mission.[6]

Astronaut Missions Group Notes
Jeremy Hansen None - awaiting assignment 2009 CSA Group
Joshua Kutryk None - awaiting assignment 2017 CSA Group
David Saint-Jacques Soyuz MS-11 (Expedition 58/59) 2009 CSA Group
Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons None - awaiting assignment 2017 CSA Group

Former astronauts[edit]

There are ten former CSA astronauts.[7]

Astronaut Missions Group Notes
Roberta Lynn Bondar STS-42 1983 NRC Group First Canadian woman to fly in space
Marc Garneau STS-41-G STS-77 STS-97 1983 NRC Group First Canadian to fly in space
Chris Hadfield STS-74 STS-100 Soyuz TMA-07M (Expedition 34/35) 1992 CSA Group Only Canadian to fly to the Russian Mir space station, first Canadian spacewalker, first Canadian commander of the ISS
Steve MacLean STS-52 STS-115 1983 NRC Group
Michael McKay None 1992 CSA Group
Ken Money None 1983 NRC Group
Julie Payette STS-96 STS-127 1992 CSA Group First Canadian to visit the ISS
Robert Thirsk STS-78, Soyuz TMA-15 (Expedition 20/21) 1983 NRC Group First Canadian to live on the ISS
Bjarni Tryggvason STS-85 1983 NRC Group
Dafydd Williams STS-90 STS-118 1992 CSA Group

Selection groups[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Canadian Astronauts - Canadian Space Agency". 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
  2. ^ "CSA - Astronauts". 2010-07-05. Archived from the original on 2013-11-20. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
  3. ^ Hall, Joseph (16 April 2011). "The Last Blast". Toronto Star. Toronto.
  4. ^ "Canadian Astronauts - Former - Canadian Space Agency". 2015-01-28. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  5. ^ "National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign - Canadian Space Agency". 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  6. ^ "Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques' mission". 16 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Former Canadian astronauts". 13 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Meet Canada's Two New Astronauts". Canadian Space Agency website. 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2017-07-03.

External links[edit]