Dr Jenni Sidey has been recruited to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) following a year-long evaluation.
Our country’s newest astronauts will play a key role in advancing space technologies while pushing the frontiers of scientific knowledge. That’s how Canada’s space programme drives innovation for a better Canada.Minister Bains
Dr Sidey, Lecturer in Internal Combustion Engines at the University of Cambridge, was named by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as one of two new astronauts who will become part of Canada’s corps of space explorers.
Prime Minister Trudeau made the historic announcement on Parliament Hill on July 1 during Canada Day celebrations to mark the nation’s 150th anniversary. He was joined by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, who is responsible for Canada’s space programme.
Dr Sidey will this month relocate to Houston, Texas, to start the two-year Astronaut Candidate Training Program at the Johnson Space Center as a member of the 2017 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut class.
The programme includes scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station (ISS) systems, simulated extravehicular activities (EVAs, or spacewalks), robotics, physiological training, flight training, Russian language courses, and sea and wilderness survival training.
Addressing the crowds on Parliament Hill, Dr Sidey said: “Back in 1992, Roberta Bondar flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery and when she came back to earth I was fortunate enough to see her speak in Calgary. I remember looking up to her, being excited at the idea of being a scientist, being a Canadian and having the opportunity to explore places beyond our world.
“So today I’m grateful to have had that role model, and that memory makes this moment so powerful for me as a woman and as a Canadian.
“It’s a privilege to share these moments with you. Thank you to the Canadian Space Agency for choosing me as an astronaut for this wonderful country.”
Minister Bains said: “Canada’s participation in space is important for scientific discovery and innovation.
“The technologies that are designed for space today can one day be used to improve the lives of all Canadians. These innovations also have the potential to create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians. Our country’s newest astronauts will play a key role in advancing space technologies while pushing the frontiers of scientific knowledge. That’s how Canada’s space programme drives innovation for a better Canada.”
Dr Sidey will be part of the next generation of space explorers that pushes the limits of science and technology while advancing public understanding of our universe. In the process, she will inspire young Canadians to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Dr Sidey is one of the Department’s ambassadors for Engineering Diversity. She helped form Cambridge Robogals in 2014, an international, not-for-profit, student-run organisation that aims to increase female participation in STEM. It does this through fun and educational initiatives aimed at girls in primary and secondary school.
When the CSA Astronaut Recruitment Campaign was launched last summer, it attracted more than 3,772 applicants from a wide variety of science, technology, engineering and mathematics backgrounds.
Read the CSA’s full profile on Dr Sidey.