This Sunday, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and NASA will reveal the four astronauts selected for the Artemis II mission, including one Canadian astronaut. This mission marks the first time in fifty years that humans will orbit the moon, and Canada will become the second country to send an astronaut around the moon.
Scheduled for November 2024, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida will launch the four astronauts on the Artemis II mission. The crew will fly the Orion spacecraft around the Earth and then the moon before returning home. Artemis II is the second phase of a project that began last year with the unmanned Artemis I mission, which aimed to test the launch system and spacecraft.
The Artemis missions serve to construct a Lunar Gateway at the moon, which can function as a space station for further deep space exploration. NASA released a teaser trailer for the crew announcement on Wednesday, heightening excitement for the impending announcement.
Although Canada has four active astronauts, it remains unknown who will be the first Canadian to fly around the moon. The announcement on Sunday will put an end to the anticipation and unveil the final crew selection.
Born March 21, 1982, in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Kutryk was raised on a cattle farm in eastern Alberta. He enjoys backcountry skiing, cycling, mountaineering and paragliding. LCol Kutryk holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering (1st Class Distinction) from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario (2004). He also earned a master’s degree in space studies from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida (2009), a master’s degree in flight test engineering from the United States Air Force’s Air University in Alabama (2012), and a master’s degree in defence studies from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario (2014).
LCol Kutryk was one of two recruits selected by the Canadian Space Agency in July 2017 through the fourth Canadian astronaut recruitment campaign. In July 2017, he relocated to Houston, Texas, to take the two-year Astronaut Candidate Training Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The program includes scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, simulated spacewalks, robotics, physiological training, flight training, Russian language courses, and sea and wilderness survival training. LCol Kutryk completed the two-year Astronaut Candidate Training Program and obtained the official title of astronaut in January 2020.
Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Sidey-Gibbons started her journey with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) during her time at McGill University, where she studied mechanical engineering. It was during this period that she collaborated with the agency on a research project related to flame propagation in microgravity.
Subsequently, Sidey-Gibbons worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Her research focused on developing low-emission combustion technology for gas turbine engines.
In 2017, the CSA selected Sidey-Gibbons as a recruit alongside Kutryk, and she was appointed as an astronaut in January 2020.
Born in London, Ontario, Hansen spent his early years on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario, before moving to Ingersoll, Ontario. He is married and has three children.
At a young age of 17, Hansen obtained his glider and private pilot licenses through the Air Cadet Program. He later joined the Canadian Armed Forces and served as a CF-18 fighter pilot before his appointment as an astronaut.
Selected as one of two recruits for the CSA in 2009, Hansen graduated as an astronaut in 2011. Currently, he represents the CSA at NASA and works at the Mission Control Center, acting as the primary point of contact between the ground and the International Space Station (ISS). As the first Canadian to do so, he is also involved in training NASA’s astronauts.
Saint-Jacques spent his childhood in Saint-Lambert, Quebec, near Montreal, and is currently married with three children.
Before joining the CSA, he worked as a medical doctor in the Inuit community of Puvirnituq, Nunavik, in northern Quebec. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor of family medicine at McGill University. Saint-Jacques also worked as a biomedical engineer in France and Hungary, where he contributed to the development of optics systems for telescopes and arrays used at observatories in Japan, Hawaii, and the Canary Islands.
In 2009, the CSA selected Saint-Jacques as a recruit, and he graduated from the NASA astronaut program in 2011. He has since served as a support astronaut for various ISS missions and worked with the Robotics Branch of the NASA Astronaut Office. He has also acted as the mission control radio operator for several ISS resupply missions.
In December 2018, Saint-Jacques embarked on a 204-day mission to the ISS, making it the longest mission any Canadian astronaut has ever undertaken. During his time on the ISS, he became the fourth CSA astronaut to conduct a spacewalk and the first CSA astronaut to use the Canadarm2 to capture a visiting spacecraft.
From left to righ: Joshua Kutryk, 41; Jeremy R. Hansen, 47; Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons, 34; David Saint-Jacques, 53.
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