Canadian Space Agency’s final decision: Hansen & St.-Jacques

The Incredible Sixteen at the CAS's March 16 news conference.

The Incredible Sixteen at the CAS's March 16 news conference. (photo Larry Milberry)

In our earlier post on the contest to become Canada’s next astronaut, we refrained from speculating on the winners. Now the Canadian Space Agency announces its two picks. From the press release:

Nearly 25 years after the first Canadian astronaut flew into space and only weeks before two Canadian space veterans launch to the International Space Station, the Honourable Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) President Steve MacLean revealed the names of Canada’s newest astronauts.

“Canada is poised for the future, extending our proud history of achievements in human spaceflight, science and technology innovation and space exploration,” said the Honourable Tony Clement. “These new astronauts will support Canada’s contribution to the International Space Station and continue to inspire our young Canadians to pursue advanced studies in the sciences and reach for their dreams.”

The new astronauts were chosen among 5351 applicants. Through the year-long recruitment process, candidates underwent evaluations ranging from robotics to physical fitness testing.

“I am inspired by the outstanding talent I have seen in the Canadians that applied to become astronauts. Canadians have risen to the top in so many areas of achievement and our recruitment campaign attracted the best and the brightest of our nation,” said CSA President Steve MacLean. “The Canadian Space Agency’s two new astronauts will embark on a career which, I can say from personal experience, will be full of adventure and personal fulfillment.  And they will do important work on behalf of Canada and on behalf of humanity.”

Jeremy Hansen and David St-Jacques are the first Canadians to join the astronaut corps since 1992. [You can check out their bios here.]

They become the 11th and 12th Canadians to join the Canadian Astronaut Corps.

The new astronauts will undergo brief training at the CSA headquarters this summer. In August 2009, they will begin their astronaut training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Until then, the new Canadian Space Agency astronauts will support the launch activities of their colleagues, Canadian astronauts, Robert Thirsk and Julie Payette. Bob Thirsk will take part in a long-duration mission on the International Space Station and is scheduled to launch on May 27 from Baikonur Kazakhstan. Julie Payette, will be a mission specialist on STS-127, which is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 13.

For more info on the National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign, visit the CSA’s website.

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