July 11, 2016 3:26 pm
Updated: July 11, 2016 8:00 pm

In just 2 weeks, over 3,300 Canadians applied to be the country’s next astronaut

WATCH ABOVE: The Canadian Space Agency is in the middle of a recruiting drive, looking for the next generation of astronauts. But as Mike Armstrong reports, there's stiff competition with a little more than a month left to submit an application.


Over 3,300 people have already applied to become one of two new astronauts hired by the Canadian Space Agency, and officials say they’re expecting lots more interest as word spreads.

According to Karl Saad, project manager for the CSA’s latest astronaut recruitment campaign, the response so far has been very exciting.

“There is a lot of interaction on Twitter and Facebook, so it’s showing the public is giving attention (to) the campaign and there is an interest,” Saad told Global News.

WATCH: Canadian Space Agency on the hunt for its next astronauts

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With the call for resumes, issued just over two weeks ago, the CSA is hoping to awaken a spirit of exploration among Canadians who have dreamed of rocketing toward the stars but, until now, haven’t had the opportunity.

As of midnight on July 6, 3,372 applications had been either been submitted or started, the CSA said. Nearly 70 per cent of the applicants so far are men.

Ontarians make up the bulk of the hopefuls, with 35 per cent (1,189) of the applications coming from that province. Quebec is second, with 22 per cent (740), and there have been just over 300 applications from outside Canada’s borders.

Nunavut has had the fewest applications, with just four received.

“There’s a lot of stages where we have to review, meet the candidates,” Saad explained.

Applicants need to be Canadian citizens, and must hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science, or a doctorate in medicine or dentistry.

READ MORE: Canadian Space Agency launches astronaut recruitment program

They have to measure between 4’10” and 6’3″, weigh between 110 lbs and 209 lbs and have 20/20 vision.

Over the course of the next year, the CSA will whittle down the field of people who feel space travel is their destiny to 200, then 40 candidates, finally ending up with a pool of 20.

Those candidates won’t have much time to get cocky, however, as most will eventually be eliminated, leaving only two standing.

The last recruitment campaign ended with the selection of astronauts Jeremy Hansen and David Saint Jacques, both of whom now boast significant public profiles.

Saad said the CSA is “expecting the same caliber” of potential astronauts this time around.

In addition to their scientific talents, the two new recruits will need to be “well-rounded” people who could be a force for good in the wider community.

“To be able to find that rare combination of education, experience, social skills, being able to be a representative of Canada and a spokesperson for the Canadian Space Agency, requires a process that is very demanding on a candidate,” Saad said.

If the pool as of July 6 doesn’t yield the candidates they’re looking for, the CSA isn’t too concerned. Applications are being accepted for another month, until Aug. 15.

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Number of astronaut applicants by province

Alberta = 396
British Columbia = 376
Manitoba = 67
New Brunswick = 48
Newfoundland and Labrador = 46
Northwest Territories = 7
Nova Scotia = 85
Nunavut = 5
Ontario = 1,189
Prince Edward Island = 13
Quebec = 740
Saskatchewan = 67
Yukon = 6
Outside Canada = 327

Total = 3,372

(Source: Canadian Space Agency)

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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