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Former CF-18 Pilot named as new Canadian Astronaut


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Interesting story and congrats to the new astronauts!


Canadian Space Agency names two new astronauts
Updated Wed. May. 13 2009 1:41 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

After months of intense interviews and rigorous physical and skills tests, two new astronauts joined Canada's Astronaut Corps Wednesday at the culmination of the third national recruit campaign.

Jeremy Hansen of Ailsa Craig, Ont., and David Saint-Jacques, of Quebec City, were introduced by Industry Minister Tony Clement during a news conference at the Canada Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa.

Hansen was a CF-18 fighter pilot and held the position of Combat Operations Officer at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta.

His responsibilities included ensuring the effectiveness of NORAD air defence operations.

"Today is the realization of a lifelong dream and goal for me," Hansen said. "It was a goal because I'd watched other Canadians live and work in space and I knew that it was possible as a Canadian to do that."

Saint-Jacques has a PhD in astrophysics from Cambridge and was a medical doctor practicing at Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq, Northern Quebec.

"I am looking forward to starting training for this great mission," Saint-Jacques said.

Canadian Space Agency president and former astronaut Steve MacLean said the two new astronauts will inspire Canadians.

"They are at the beginning of an amazing career," MacLean said. "They have a tough job to do and they will become the next generation of Canadian space explorers."

The new astronauts were chosen from among 16 finalists, who themselves were selected from an initial applicant pool of more than 5,300 hopefuls.

The agency launched the recruitment campaign in May 2008 with a call for online applications.

After MacLean announced the 16 finalists in March, they were subjected to a series of interviews and medical tests.

The astronaut search is the third of its kind in Canada. In 1983, the search yielded Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Robert Thirsk, Ken Money, Bjarni Tryggvason and MacLean.

The 1992 search produced Chris Hadfield, Julie Payette, Dave Williams and Mike Mackay.

The new astronauts begin training in August.