Sailor hopes next adventure will take him out of this world

A PhD candidate in aerospace engineering who grew up in Truro, N.S., is one of six Nova Scotians who has advanced to the next stage of astronaut tryouts with the Canadian Space Agency.

Truro native Scott Bishop makes his case to become one of Canada's next astronauts

Astronaut candidate Scott Bishop has sailed alone across the Atlantic Ocean on two occasions. (Submitted by Scott Bishop)

Truro native and aerospace engineer Scott Bishop really has been to the ends of the earth. Now he wants to push those boundaries to explore outer space.

Bishop, who lives in Halifax, is one of six Nova Scotians who have advanced to the next stage of astronaut tryouts with the Canadian Space Agency.

There are more than a few reasons why the PhD candidate in aerospace engineering at Carleton University can claim to have the right stuff for space missions.

  • He has crossed the Atlantic alone in a small sailboat. Twice.
  • He's sailed the Northwest Passage in a boat with only two other shipmates.
  • He was part of a nine-member crew on an expedition to Antarctica.

That makes Bishop accustomed to functioning in isolated spaces for long periods of time.

"Those are the kind of similar numbers that live on the space station," Bishop told CBC's Information Morning.

Scott Bishop is a PhD candidate in aerospace engineering at Carleton University. He lives in Halifax. (Canadian Space Agency)

"So you also have to be able to live with other people in a tight little environment. You don't have much personal space. You have to be able to interact; be able to get along with everybody, and ultimately, work as a team."

Bishop is also trained as a lifeguard and scuba diver, and has knowledge of amateur radio operations and navigation — all things that help boost his impressive resume.

"The next stage is where it gets tough. It's more physical testing," Bishop said, noting hand-eye co-ordination, memory tests and problem solving are also part of the rigorous examination.

The Canadian Space Agency, which had to pare down an original list of 3,772 applicants, will select two of the remaining 72 candidates for its astronaut program.

'I could be one of the them'

The next round of tryouts takes place this month in Quebec.

Other hopefuls from Nova Scotia are Cordell Grant, Sydney; Michael Anthony Jordan, Halifax; William Shane Journeay, Liverpool; Brendan Craig Dickson, Halifax and Kevin David Spencer, New Glasgow.

Earlier this week, Bishop spotted the lights from the International Space Station passing over Nova Scotia, a possible good omen for his chances of being chosen.

"It's exciting to think of all the people up there doing research and science. Maybe with a bit more work, I could be one of them," he said.

With files from Information Morning