Do you have what it takes to be Canada’s next astronaut?
Larissa Cahute, Special to CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, June 20, 2016 12:31PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 20, 2016 2:19PM EDT
The Canadian Space Agency has a long list of requirements for anyone interested in applying to its latest recruitment campaign in search of the country’s next two astronauts.
The campaign, which launched last week, is not only looking for well-educated applicants, but also those in exceptional health, as they must pass years of rigorous testing.
Along with an impressive resume and 1,000-word cover letter, applicants need either a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science, or a doctorate in medicine or dentistry. They also need at least three years of professional experience (a master’s degree counts towards one year of experience, while a doctorate equals three years) or be licenced to practise medicine in Canada.
“We look for people that are in extremely good health and are physically and mentally fit to be an astronaut,” Hugues Gilbert, director of astronauts, life science, and space medicine with the CSA in Montreal told CTV News Channel Monday morning. “We’re going to test their physical, their mental, their resistance to stress – all of that.”
There are also a number of physical and medical requirements, including:
- a height between between 149.5 cm and 190.5 cm (or between 4-foot-11 and 6-foot-3);
- a weight between 110 to 209 pounds; and
- 20/20 vision (those who’ve undergone eye correction surgery are eligible, but the CSA warns against getting the procedure solely for the application.)
The agency is accepting applications until Aug. 15 and will then go through a “fairly rigorous process” to narrow down the expected thousands of applicants to only 100.
“Then then the really serious tests will start,” said Gilbert. “We will be looking at their mental skills, eye-hand coordination, resistance to stress.”
“There’s a full set of tests that we’re going to get these people through.”
The CSA expects to appoint its next two astronauts in the summer of 2017. The pair will then undergo two years of “basic training” in Houston, Texas before getting a flight assignment. Once they get the assignment, there’s another two years of flight-specific training.
“It’s a long process, you have to be patient, but it’s a fascinating job,” said Gilbert.
Canada’s next astronaut in space will be David St. Jacques, who begins his flight-specific training this fall and is expected to start his mission at the International Space Station by the end of 2018.
Canada has recruited 12 astronauts since 1983. Liberal MP Marc Garneau was the country’s first astronaut in space in 1984 and Canada’s Chris Hadfield has gained international fame not only for being the first Canadian to walk in space, but for his compelling Twitter feed and recorded-in-space rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”
According to the CSA, the salary scale for astronauts varies from $91,300 to $178,400.
To apply visit their website.