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Assessing potential NASA astronauts

Our tailored programme helped CSA choose the best of the best to join NASA as astronauts.

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The challenge

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) launched a campaign in 2016 to find two new Canadian astronauts to join NASA. The search began with over 5,000 applicants and through multiple tests and stages they narrowed the field to 32 finalists. All of the finalists were highly credentialed individuals with impressive backgrounds in sectors such as the military, science, medicine and aviation.

As part of the selection process, CSA needed a facility to conduct trials to determine how the candidates would deal with stress, anxiety, physical demands and the various other types of pressures they may face as astronauts.

The solution

We developed a specific program for CSA to put the candidates through a series of challenging exercises, including underwater escape training from a simulated spacecraft, jumping from height and hoisting.

To make the program particularly realistic and valuable, we reconfigured our helicopter simulator to directly represent the Orion space capsule in which the astronauts will be flying in.

The outcome

  • We logged all astronauts’ abilities and responses in a highly detailed report for CSA
  • CSA chose its two new astronauts, and they joined NASA in 2017
  • One of the new astronauts described his training at FSSC as one of the most challenging parts of the two-year selection process