WATCH: One step closer to space: Quebecers in top 17

Over 3,700 Canadians applied to be the country's next astronauts in the fourth-ever search launched last summer. 
Today, the top 17 candidates to make the penulimate round were announced by Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains in Toronto.

Three Quebecers made the list: 

  • Canadian Armed Forces officer Andréanne Vidal, originally from Montreal, now based in Belleville, Ontario.
  • Former Montrealer Evan Thomas, who has a Bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism, is a professor in engineering and public health at Portland State University. 
  • Charles-Philippe Lajoie works with telescopes in Baltimore, Maryland. He is originally from Rouyn-Noranda.  

There's also Jennifer Sidey, a Calgary native who picked up her Bachelor's Degree in mechanical engineering at McGill University, and now studies flames at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, where she earned her PhD. 

Current Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen described some of the varied and rigorous testing the candidates went through, including physical stamina tests, working with robotics, and speaking to students in classrooms. 

And, of course, emergency situations: 'We've put them in scenarios where they were fighting fires, battling a sinking ship, escaping out of a capsule that landed in high seas,' explained Hansen. 'They have to work as a team, they have to show leadership. Most of all, they have to show us they can work calmly under pressure.'  

The two finalists will be unveiled by the summer. 
The full list of candidates, with their biographies (and favourite sci-fi films) can be found here.



Minister Bains introduces 17 potential astronauts.

Minister Bains introduces 17 potential astronauts.