Monday, March 04, 2013

More Private Sector Canadian Astronauts

The traditional, mass media has finally begun to notice that our next Canadian astronauts likely won't work for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

According to the March 3rd, 2013 Canadian Press article "Next Canadian astronauts could be flying commercial," four Canadians are currently training with private sector US based companies to be the next Canadian astronauts.

Two of them, Erik Seedhouse, a Milton, Ontario based aerospace scientist and Kris Lehnhardt, a medical doctor who trained with flight surgeons at the Kennedy Space Center and now teaches at George Washington University, are currently training with US based Astronauts4Hire, a 501(c)(3) non-profit formed in 2010 to recruit and train qualified scientists and engineers for the rigors of spaceflight.

The "last" government astronaut?
The second two, "a former Manitoba bush pilot" and "an ex-Snowbirds pilot," according to the article, were first profiled in the June 3rd, 2012 blog post "Meteorites, ITAR, a Secret Consortium of Research Universities & Astronauts from Manitoba," and the May/ June 2012 issue of Canadian Aviator magazine.

Winnipeg natives Rob Bendall, a former bush pilot and Vince Jandrisch, an ex-Canadian forces Snowbird demonstration pilot will be among the first to fly paying customers to the edge of space aboard the Virgin Galactic fleet of suborbital spacecraft. The first commercial flights are expected sometime in 2014.

The CSA has confirmed that there are currently no scheduled flights of Canadian government astronauts beyond Chris Hadfield, who will complete his five-month visit to the International Space Station (ISS) in May 2013. However, a CSA official has indicated that it's still possible that one more Canadian government astronaut could go to the ISS before the end of the decade.

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