The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Astronaut Dave Williams performs a spacewalk during Shuttle Mission in 2007.

Six from B.C. in space race to become Canada’s next astronaut

Candidates include surgeons, pilots, and physicists vying for two spots with the Canadian Space Agency

They’re courageous, have determination, and travel beyond the Earth to help push scientific knowledge forward.

Thats how the Canadian Space Agency defines an astronaut.

And that’s what the space agency is looking for in the next two Canadians who’ll get to put the coolest job title on their LinkedIn profile.

In a list released this week, 72 people are in the running to fill those two spots, including six with ties to B.C.

Michael Koehle, a physician-scientist, is also an associate professor at UBC’s Vancouver campus.

He has a doctorate in medicine from the University of Toronto a PhD in exercise physiology from UBC, amongst other certifications.

When asked if he’s excited about making the first round, Koehle said it’s too early to be excited.

“There are still about seventy highly-qualified pilots, engineers, scientists and physicians vying for just two spots.”

On Thursday, he was preparing to leave for the next selection camp over the weekend.

“It has been an interesting process so far, but I think this next selection camp should be the first real indication of what they expect and who they are looking for,” he said.

Other B.C.-based candidates include Jay Cullen, professor of chemical oceanography, University of Victoria and Richard Federley, a chemistry instructor, from the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

B.C. born candidates include, Jason Leuschen, a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot born in Murrayville; Ross Semeniuk, a wing surgeon for the air force from Kelowna; and Gavin Tansley, a general surgery resident originally from Vancouver.

These candidates, and the other 66 applicants were narrowed down from more than 3,500 submissions in the summer.

The space agency will continue its selection process over the next year, and will update its list of those still in the running regularly.

 


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