Canadian astronaut Joshua Kutryk to head to the International Space Station

Science

It’s a dream that’s out of this world. The Canadian Space Agency announced that astronaut Joshua Kutryk has been assigned a six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2025, and Jenni Gibbons will be Jeremy Hansen’s back-up for the Artemis II mission.

Jenni Gibbons was also assigned to be Jeremy Hansen’s back-up for the Artemis II mission

Nicole Mortillaro · CBC News

· Posted: Nov 22, 2023 12:22 PM EST | Last Updated: November 22, 2023

Canada’s newest astronauts Joshua Kutryk and Jennifer Gibbons acknowledge the crowd during Canada 150 celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 1, 2017. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press) It’s a dream that’s out of this world.

This morning from Canadian Space Agency headquarters just outside of Montreal, Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne announced that astronaut Joshua Kutryk has been assigned a six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2025. 

“I’m proud to be a crew member on this mission, but especially to be participating as a Canadian astronaut,” Kutryk said. “I’m proud that our country continues to play a leading role in space. It’s very important for our country.”

But that isn’t all for our Canadian astronauts. 

The CSA also announced that Jenni Gibbons will be Jeremy Hansen’s back-up for the Artemis II mission.

In that mission, four astronauts — Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Koch and Hansen — will orbit the moon in NASA’s new Orion spacecraft.

“For me it’s a privilege to be support for astronaut Jeremy Hansen for the lunar mission,” Gibbons said. “[Canada is] the only international partner assigned to the most critically important mission NASA has planned in over 50 years — human spaceflights return to the moon.”

WATCH | Hansen on being picked for the moon mission :

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This will be Kutryk’s first mission, and he will fly aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner. 

Both SpaceX and Boeing were awarded contracts in 2014 to launch crew from American soil once again, after the U.S. was forced to use Russian Soyuz spacecraft following the mothballing of its space shuttle program in 2011.

SpaceX launched its first crew flight in November 2020, while Boeing has yet to launch its crew flight test. It’s believed that it could happen next spring.

There are currently four active Canadian astronauts: Gibbons, Kutryk, Hansen and David Saint-Jacques. Saint-Jacques’s 204-day mission, from Dec. 3, 2018 to June 24, 2019, was the longest Canadian space mission to date.

Gibbons and Kutryk were recruited in 2017.

“For the two of us it has been a wonderful, adventurous ride over the last six years, and I couldn’t even imagine sharing it with anyone but [Jenni],” Kutryk said. “We’re trying to build the best space program that we can for the future missions of this country, and I can’t imagine doing it with anyone else.” 

Both astronauts will continue their training, focusing on their respective missions.

Gibbons will be working with the Artemis II team as a crew test subject, and will train as capsule communicator (CAPCOM), a role where an astronaut at mission control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston communicates with crew on their mission.

To date, nine CSA astronauts have flown in space.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Based in Toronto, Nicole covers all things science for CBC News. As an amateur astronomer, Nicole can be found looking up at the night sky appreciating the marvels of our universe. She is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the author of several books. In 2021, she won the Kavli Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for a Quirks and Quarks audio special on the history and future of Black people in science. You can send her story ideas at Nicole.Mortillaro@cbc.ca.

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