Canadian Space Agency Selects Astronaut Finalists

ICYMI: Meet the women of NASA astronaut group 21


I firmly believe that there was once a time when every kid in school wanted to grow up to become an astronaut. I’m not sure what happened to those dreams, but the all the boys in my school wanted to play soccer and the girls wanted to be in magazines.

From 4,000 applicants, each with their own set of skills and specialties, we have 17 of the finalists selected. These young men and women will fly the Canadian flag on future missions to the ISS and beyond. For a relatively small country (population-wise), Canada has a rich history in aviation and space exploration with achievements like the Canadarm and astronauts such as Chris Hadfield at the forefront of their endeavors.

I spoke to the Canadian Space Agency recently about the application process and what the astronauts had to go through in order to stand a chance at succeeding. They were tested vigorously on teamwork, handling pressure and emergency situations.


From these finalists, 2 will be selected to train with NASA and stand a good chance of one day spending time on the International Space Station or travelling to the Moon or Mars. The successful applicants will be revealed this summer.

The Finalists:

Matthew Bamsey:


Current Employment: Chief systems engineer, EDEN ISS Project, German Aerospace Centre

Motivation for application: Exploration. “Humans need to explore. We need to be doing something outside of our “day to day” to push boundaries, to come up with new ideas, to understand what is possible,” Bamsey’s profile on the CSA website states.

Alex DeLorey:


Current job: Project Manager for the Components and Feeder Design, Bruce Major Component Replacement Project

Motivation for application: “This is an exciting position on an important team that allows us to push the boundaries of our knowledge and capabilities further while inspiring others to do the same,” DeLorey said.

Francis James Frenzel:


Current job: Pilot-in-training for the Royal Canadian Air Force

Motivation for application: “I love this country and take pride in serving the nation; what better way to do so than by inspiring the next generation of dreamers?” Frenzel said.

Vanessa Fulford:


Current job: Flight test engineer for the Royal Canadian Air Force

Motivation for application: “I want to be a role model for future generations. I take pride in motivating and exciting people about the possibilities of the future and the amazing things that they can experience,” she said.

Michael Anthony Jordan:


Current job: Lead Department of Defence test pilot

Motivation for application: “The human species seems to be at the cusp of embarking on an evolutionary step that will define our continued existence. It would be an honour to be a part of that step and to share the journey with the world,” he said.

Erik Kroeker:


Current job: Staff scientist and university lecturer

Motivation for application: “The biggest reason I want to become an astronaut is to be able to share the incredible space science being done with a large audience,” Kroeker said.

Joshua Kutryk:


Current job: Officer commanding for Fighter Operational Test and Evaluation Flight

Motivation for application: “I have always wanted to leave the world a better place than I found it, and I believe that space is one area where I can do so,” Kutryk said.

Charles-Philippe Lajoie:


Current job: Astronomical optics scientist

Motivation for application: “As a kid growing up with images of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Apollo missions, becoming an astronaut has always been a dream, albeit one I knew is hard to reach. I also love pushing my limits and seeking new challenges and adventures,” he said.

Jason Leuschen:


Current job: Student pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force

Motivation for application: “I fell in love with the sky growing up on a farm in The Land of The Living Skies (Saskatchewan, of course),” he said. “I have wanted to be an astronaut, to get a little closer to the heavens, ever since.”

Robert Riddell:


Current job: Medical officer in the Canadian Armed Forces

Motivation for application: “Unlike any job on Earth, being an astronaut would allow me to draw on the knowledge that I have gained from my formal education and the unique experiences I have had as a military officer and rural physician,” Riddell said.

Jennifer Anne MacKinnon Sidey:


Current job: Lecturer in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge

Motivation for application: “I want to become an astronaut because it provides an incredible challenge. It aligns with my interests in the advancement and application of science for the benefit of society,” she said.

Adam Sirek:


Current job: Family physician and Captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force

Motivation for application: “I have always loved both aviation and medicine. Science and experiments performed on orbit has led to improvements for all of humanity, and this has been a driving factor in all of my aerospace medicine training.”

Nathalie Sleno:


Current job: Medical officer and team lead for 1 Field Ambulance Detachment in Yellowknife

Motivation for application: “It would be the greatest achievement—and the ultimate experience—to participate in the forefront of science! To be so closely involved in the greatest frontier, as we continue to push limits and pursue knowledge, would be a dream come true,” she said.

Evan Alexander Beirne Thomas:


Current job: Associate professor at Portland State University

Motivation for application: “I want to be an astronaut because the International Space Station is both a research and development platform and a global pulpit for tangible, impactful collaborations that can simultaneously further space exploration while addressing chronic challenges on Earth,” he said.

Andréane Vidal:


Current job: Officer responsible for research and development of future capabilities in the Canadian Armed Forces

Motivation for application: “I would like to use the two types of knowledge and skills I acquired during my professional career for the benefit of humanity, and becoming an astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency is an ideal opportunity to do just that,” Vidal said.

Michelle Whitty:


Current job: Captain in the Canadian Armed Forces and qualified combat engineering officer

Motivation for application: “The thought of a lifetime of learning, travelling and adventure makes me excited. I am thrilled at the opportunity to be able to merge the fields of medicine, engineering and space exploration and push the limits of human knowledge,” she said.

Jesse Zroback:


Current job: Family physician in the remote community of Marathon, Ont. and assistant professor at the NOSM

Motivation for application: “Discovery through exploration and adventure is a passion of mine. It would be extremely rewarding to push myself to my highest potential through the skills development and variety of rigorous challenges of astronaut training,” he said.

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