Toronto, (Ontario), March 16 – Today, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) President Steve MacLean introduced the Top 16 candidates who are participating in the Agency’s National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign. This announcement provides insight into the process of selecting the next two members of Canada’s Astronaut Corps.

This group was selected from over 5351 online and screened applicants to the National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign, which was launched in May 2008. Over the last several months, the CSA has interviewed candidates and put them through a series of medical exams as well as physical and skills tests in what were sometimes extreme conditions. They have also been tested for their creativity, teamwork skills and physical fitness to determine their ability to meet the demands of astronaut training and space flight.

The tests were developed and executed in collaboration with the 5th Area Support Group Command, Saint-Jean Garrison, Department of National Defence in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec (January 2009); the Canadian Forces Naval Engineering School, Damage Control Division in Halifax and Survival Systems Training Limited in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (February 2009); and, Defence Research Development Canada in Toronto, Ontario (March 2009). In December 2008, tests were also conducted with Canadian Forces medical clinics in Halifax, Bagotville, Ottawa, Downsview, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Cold Lake, Esquimalt and Kandahar (Afghanistan).

“Canada is world leader in space exploration and space robotics. This diverse and highly qualified field is a testament to the skill and innovation of our citizens,” said Industry Minister Tony Clement. “Our Economic Action Plan is committed to building on Canada’s legacy of scientific and technological excellence. I congratulate all candidates who have made it this far in the selection process. With the talent and drive displayed by these fine candidates, the Canadian Astronaut Corps will be well served for years to come.”

“The Top 16 candidates in the National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign represent an incredibly accomplished, well-rounded and diverse group of Canadians,” said CSA President and former astronaut, Steve MacLean. “This is only the third Astronaut Recruitment Campaign held in Canadian history. As we proceed with our selection process, two of these highly talented individuals will be chosen for the opportunity of a lifetime.”

The following is an alphabetical list of the Top 16 candidates:

  • Matthew Bamsey
  • Desmond Brophy
  • Christopher Denny
  • Peter Giles
  • Jeremy Hansen
  • Allyson Hindle
  • Ryan Hunter
  • Jameel Janjua
  • Joshua Kutryk
  • Mark McCullins
  • Stuart Rogerson
  • David Saint-Jacques
  • Geoffrey Steeves
  • Kenneth Welch
  • Keith Wilson
  • Bruce Woodley

The remaining steps of the campaign include a series of interviews and intensive medical exams to be completed over the next two months. The final two candidates will be selected as the newest members of Canada’s Astronaut Corps in May 2009.

For more information about the National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign, visit the Canadian Space Agency Web site at Resources on the site include biographies and photos of the Top 16 candidates, a campaign timeline and photos of the candidates throughout the evaluation process.

About the Canadian Astronaut Corps

Canada’s astronauts embody the spirit of the Canadian Space Program. Their courage and commitment are a source of pride and inspiration to all Canadians. As astronauts, their core function is to support, train and fly on international space missions, and to use their unique experience to help further scientific research and advance technology development. They also play a key role in raising public awareness about Canada’s achievements and activities in space, while inspiring Canada’s youth to explore the fields of science and technology.

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989, the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all civil, space-related policies and programs on behalf of the Government of Canada. The Agency directs its resources and activities through four key thrusts: Earth Observation, Space Science and Exploration, Satellite Communications, and Space Awareness and Learning. By leveraging international cooperation, the CSA generates world-class scientific research and industrial development for the benefit of humanity.

For more information:

CSA Media Relations Office
Canadian Space Agency
Tel.: 450-926-4370