July 4, 2017 10:47 am
Updated: July 4, 2017 7:09 pm

Canada’s two new astronauts get standing ovation at space agency near Montreal

WATCH: The Canadian Space Agency is welcoming its two newest astronauts. Out of 3,800 contenders, Jenni Sidey and Joshua Kutryk proved they have the right stuff. And as Tim Sargeant reports, the pair is already inspiring the next generation of Canadians in space.

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LONGUEUIL, Que. – Canada’s two new astronauts received a rousing ovation from staff at the Canadian Space Agency on Tuesday as they took questions from children in the audience and toured the facilities.

“I’ve started new jobs before but I’ve never ever in my life received this type of a welcome on Day 1,” Joshua Kutryk of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., told the gathered crowd.

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Kutryk and Calgary’s Jennifer Sidey, who will both head to Houston for training next month, were named by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday as the country marked its 150th birthday.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau unveils Canada’s newest astronauts at Canada 150 event

Sidey is a lecturer with the University of Cambridge who has worked as a mechanical engineer, while Kutryk is an air force pilot with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in defence studies.

Sidey, who turns 29 in August, says her dreams of becoming an astronaut date back to 1992 when Roberta Bondar went into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

It has been a whirlwind few days and Sidey said she’s trying to absorb as much of the experience as she can.

“Things are starting to sink in and coming back to CSA is very special,” she said.

Kutryk, 35, was fascinated with space as a child and said he knew his life would focus on helping to explore it.

WATCH: Canada’s newest astronauts introduced at Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations 

The two Canadians will have a two-year training program in Houston along with a dozen new American recruits under the supervision of fellow Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen.

“It’s adapting to the environment and really settling in so much so that we can learn,” Sidey said. “Because we need to learn a lot and we need to learn it pretty quickly, so that’s a big challenge.”

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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