Three southwestern Ontario natives are in the running to be Canada's next astronaut.

The Canadian Space Agency has come up with a short list of 72 candidates, highlighting the impressive resumes of each contender.

Erik Kroeker, originally from Chatham; Kharim Schliewinsky, originally from London; and Adam Sirek of Tecumseh are all one small step closer to extra terrestrial travel.

Adam Sirek

Adam Sirek

Adam Sirek of Windsor, Ont. has made the latest short list to become one of Canada's next astronauts. (Canadian Space Agency)

Education:

  • Bachelor's, science – University of Toronto.
  • Master's, science – University of Toronto.
  • Diploma in higher education, medical sciences – Northumbria University.
  • Medical degree – St. George's University.

Current job(s):

Family physician in Windsor and a doctor at Leamington District Memorial Hospital.

Professor at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Captain in Royal Canadian Air Force reserves.

Why does he want to become an astronaut?

"Science and experiments performed on orbit has led to improvements for all of humanity, and this has been a driving factor in all of my aerospace medicine training. Being involved in cutting-edge research in space, and then helping to translate its application to terrestrial domains, is an exciting thing for me."

Erik Kroeker

Erik Kroeker

Erik Kroeker, originally from Chatham, Ont., has made the latest short list to become one of Canada's next astronauts. (Canadian Space Agency)

Education:

  • Bachelor's, mechanical and aerospace engineering – Princeton University.
  • Master's, aerospace engineering – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Ph.D., aerospace engineering – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Current job(s):

Staff scientist, who works on satellite research for space missions. Right now, he's working on an optical navigation system for satellite rendezvous with asteroids. 

University lecturer, who focuses on the mechanics of space flight, simulating the motion of satellites, and the design of small spacecraft.

Why does he want to become an astronaut?

"As an astronaut, not only would I be on the leading edge of space research, working with the best minds in the world who are tackling science's most challenging problems, but I would also be able to serve as a voice for that research."

Kharim Schliewinsky

Kharim Schliewinsky

Kharim Schliewinsky, originally from London, Ont., has made the latest short list to become one of Canada's next astronauts. (Canadian Space Agency)

Education:

  • Bachelor's, physics and space science – Royal Roads Military College.
  • Medical Degree – Dalhousie University.
  • Family medicine residency – University of Ottawa.

Current job(s):

General duty medical officer, advanced diving medicine officer for the Canadian Armed Forces.

Why does he want to become an astronaut?

"It's an opportunity to represent Canada as part of an international team developing space travel and new technology. It's a rare opportunity to combine my passion for science, medicine, and fitness, while using my skills gained from various professional experiences."