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 Canadian Space Agency was established in 1989.

Since 1984, when Marc Garneau became the first Canadian in space, eleven Canadians 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". Another astronaut, Julie Payette would go on to serve as the Governor General of Canada.


The "Astronauts" program is one of 7 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.

As of December 2013, there are 2 active astronauts in the Canadian corps (Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques) and 9 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.


Astronaut candidates[edit]

The term "astronaut candidate" refers to individuals who have been selected by CSA as candidates for the Canadian Astronaut Corps. Two candidates who were selected in June 2009 are currently undergoing a candidacy training program at the Johnson Space Center. Following completion of an initial two-year training program, the candidates will be promoted to Astronaut.[6]

Jeremy Hansen, David Saint-Jacques

Former members[edit]

Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Steve MacLean, Michael McKay, Ken Money, Robert Thirsk, Bjarni Tryggvason (Born in Iceland), Julie Payette, Dave Williams, Chris Hadfield. In July 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Julie Payette would become the next Governor General of Canada, starting this role in the fall after briefings with the incumbent David Johnston.[7]

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. 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. ^ "CSA - Astronauts". 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Meet Canada's Two New Astronauts". Canadian Space Agency website. 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2017-07-03. 

External links[edit]