Canada’s newest astronauts Joshua Kutryk and Jennifer Sidey acknowledge the crowd during Canada 150 celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Saturday, July 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Sean Kilpatrick

Two Albertans named Canada’s new astronauts

OTTAWA — Two Albertans were named Canada’s newest astronauts Saturday as the country marked its 150th birthday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the platform of waterlogged Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa to name Jennifer Sidey of Calgary and Joshua Kutryk of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.

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

Sidey told the crowd she was inspired to become an astronaut in 1992 when Roberta Bondar went into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. She said she had the opportunity to attend a speech in Calgary by Canada’s first female astronaut.

“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,” she said.

“I’m grateful to have had that role model and that memory makes this moment so powerful for me.”

Kutryk, for his part, said he is honoured to be joining the Canadian Space Agency.

“Throughout the recruitment campaign, Jenny and I met some amazing Canadians, scientists, doctors, engineers, pilots like myself. There is so much talent in this country,” he said.

“I stand on the shoulders of the great Canadian astronauts before me, they inspired me to be the best that I could be.”

The Canadian Press

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