Chris Hadfield, Roberta Bondar, David Saint-Jacques… The famous Canadian astronauts are a source of inspiration for you ? Like them, do you want to become an astronaut at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) ? Before you consider taking the Canadian astronaut selection tests, first verify that you are eligible for the numerous selection criteria. Physical Aptitudes, Health, Training, Professional Experiences… Do you meet all the criteria to become an astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency ?
Nationality, gender and age requirements to become a CSA astronaut
- You must live permanently in Canada or be a Canadian citizen living in another country. In all cases, the Canadian Space Agency favors applications from Canadian citizens.
- You can be a man or a woman, the CSA studies the candidatures of both sexes, taking into account however the morphological differences for the physical and medical examinations.
- The Canadian Space Agency does not communicate on an ideal age range to apply. However, like all space agencies it will probably bet on candidates young enough to have a long career as an astronaut. For comparison, NASA seems to recruit astronauts who are between 26 and 46 years old, and the European Space Agency has a preference for candidates between 27 and 37 years old.
Physical and medical requirements to become a CSA astronaut
Astronauts have to spend more and more time in space. This is why the physical abilities of astronaut candidates must be excellent and their health irreproachable. But you should not have over-developed muscles either, it could even be a handicap in space because the lack of gravity melts muscle mass. Here are the criteria communicated by the Canadian Space Agency to select its future astronauts.
- You must measure between 1.495m and 1.905m (58.85 to 75 inches).
- You must weigh between 50 and 95 pounds, depending on your gender and your age (a good shape is required).
- Your hearing should be normal, that is, you should not have recurring or chronic hearing problems.
- The required visual acuity is 20/20 (6/6), with or without vision correction. If you have had a laser surgery (PRK and LASIK), you can apply to become an astronaut, but there must be no complications after this surgery.
- You must not be color-blind.
- Your arterial pressure measured in a sitting position should be 140/90 mm Hg maximum.
Education to become a CSA astronaut
You must have obtained a bachelor’s degree in engineering or sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, biology, geology…) or a PhD in medicine (or dentistry).
Professional experience to become a CSA astronaut
- In addition to studies, astronaut candidates must have at least three years of relevant professional experience, that is, related to the areas studied. However, the Canadian Space Agency says that a master’s degree equates to one year of professional experience and a PhD equals three years of professional experience.
- Having the right to practice medicine in Canada is an alternative way to fulfill the CSA’s expectations.
Other skills and requirements
- You must speak French or English, ideally both. Although the CSA does not mention it explicitly, to know how to speak Russian is important because the manuals of some spaceships are written in Russian and are not translated into English. This is the case, for example, of the Soyuz space capsule that takes astronauts to the International Space Station. In addition, Russia sends many cosmonauts into space, so it may be useful to know how to communicate with Russians in their native language.
- The Canadian Space Agency does not mention it either, but flying experience is welcome but not mandatory.
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Pictures by © Canadian Space Agency and NASA