The term "astronaut" derives from the Greek words meaning "space sailor". Since the Canadian Astronaut Program was established in 1983, twelve Canadians have been selected to become astronauts. Currently there are two active Canadian Astronauts: Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques.
First the brutal truth: being an astronaut is extremely competitive. In May 2008, the Canadian Space Agency invited Canadians to apply to become new astronaut recruits. Out of the 5351 people who applied, only two were selected after an entire year of rigorous evaluation.
Still interested? Here are some tips
The United States and Russia have their own space agencies (NASA and ROSCOSMOS). NASA has an international agreement with Canada, Japan, Russia, Brazil which can select their own astronauts. China also has manned space flight capabilities.
You need to have (really) good grades and focus on the following subjects:
And there's more you can do to increase your chances of getting into a top-notch university.
In all that spare time, learn some new languages - especially Russian.
You'll need to have a bachelor's degree in math, physics, science or engineering from a reputable school. And again, you need to have (really) good grades.
Look into ROTC programs (in the United States) or a military college (in Canada). Your ultimate goal it to become a test pilot because they have the most experience flying experimental aircraft.
You need to have at least three years OR at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft.
Professional experience can be an advanced degree (a masters counts as one year and a PhD as three years regardless of how long it actually took) or some sort of job related to something an astronaut would have to do. This would include navigating, working with computers, chemistry/biology or commanding a ship. Teachers (both college and K-12) are encouraged to apply since teaching is such an important part of being an astronaut.
You need to have:
Training starts at the Canadian Space Agency and continues at the Johnson Space Centre in Texas. Courses include parachute jumping, SCUBA training, survival training, public speaking and, of course, more science and math. (see more)
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