Canada’s new as­tro­nauts get rous­ing ova­tion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

Canada’s two new as­tro­nauts re­ceived a rous­ing ova­tion from staff at the Cana­dian Space Agency on Tues­day as they took ques­tions from chil­dren in the au­di­ence and toured the fa­cil­i­ties.

“I’ve started new jobs be­fore but I’ve never ever in my life re­ceived this type of a wel­come on Day 1,” Joshua Kutryk of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., told the gath­ered crowd.

Kutryk and Calgary’s Jen­nifer Sidey, who will both head to Hous­ton for train­ing next month, were named by Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau on Satur­day as the coun­try marked its 150th birth­day.

Sidey is a lec­turer with the Uni­ver­sity of Cam­bridge who has worked as a me­chan­i­cal engi­neer, while Kutryk is an air force pi­lot with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing and a mas­ter’s de­gree in de­fence stud­ies.

Sidey, who turns 29 in Au­gust, says her dreams of be­com­ing an as­tro­naut date back to 1992 when Roberta Bon­dar went into space aboard the space shut­tle Dis­cov­ery.

It has been a whirl­wind few days and Sidey said she’s try­ing to ab­sorb as much of the ex­pe­ri­ence as she can.

“Things are start­ing to sink in and com­ing back to CSA is very spe­cial,” she said.

Kutryk, 35, was fas­ci­nated with space as a child and said he knew his life would fo­cus on help­ing to ex­plore it.

The two Cana­di­ans will have a two-year train­ing pro­gram in Hous­ton along with a dozen new Amer­i­can re­cruits un­der the su­per­vi­sion of fel­low Cana­dian as­tro­naut Jeremy Hansen.

“It’s adapt­ing to the en­vi­ron­ment and re­ally set­tling in so much so that we can learn,” Sidey said. “Be­cause we need to learn a lot and we need to learn it pretty quickly, so that’s a big chal­lenge.”

CP PHOTO

Canada’s new­est as­tro­nauts Jen­nifer Sidey and Joshua Kutryk visit the Rover room dur­ing a a tour of the Cana­dian Space Agency in Saint-Hu­bert, Que., Tues­day.

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