Astronaut hits new height

By Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca.

Jeremy Hansen was all smiles when he stepped to the microphone on Wednesday, after he and David Saint-Jacques were named Canada's newest astronauts.

But when I spoke with Hansen in March, he was one of many prospective astronauts concerned about, of all things, his height.

The CSA, like other space agencies around the world, has strict guidelines regarding height - astronauts must be between 149.5 cm (four feet, 11 inches) to 190.5 cm (six feet, three inches) tall - as some of the spacecraft, such as Russia's Soyuz rockets, are a tight fit for the overly lanky.

Hansen made the cut, as he's close to six-foot-two, but the measurements are not just about height. More detailed measurements, such as leg length, are also taken into account. And on top of those restrictions, the spacesuits in use are a specific size and don't fit all astronauts: they generally are tailored for the average-sized astronaut.

So for Hansen to be named one of Canada's astronauts is doubly impressive. But then again, the Ingersoll, Ont.-raised Captain was already a fighter pilot, so by squeezing into a jet plane he had already bucked the odds.