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Alberta astronaut to soar to new heights as NASA mission specialist

Joshua Kutryk is living his dream as only the fourth Canadian astronaut sent to the International Space Station.
Canadian Space Agency astronaut Joshua Kutryk.

Astronaut Joshua Kutryk, who has ties to the Lakeland region, will blast into space as the mission specialist for NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 in his first ever spaceflight in early 2025.

Kutryk continues to break boundaries as only the fourth Canadian astronaut sent to the International Space Station, and the first to fly with NASA’s commercial crew program.

Kutryk has a crucial role in the CFT mission. As the capsule communicator, he's responsible for communicating with Mission Control during the spacecraft’s ascent and re-entry, making sure everything goes smoothly.

Kutryk was born in Fort Saskatchewan and lived in Elk Point in the 1990s. His father served as an RCMP officer. In a Canadian Space Agency promotional video, Kutryk describes growing up as a farm boy on the prairies and having fond memories of feeding cattle on winter nights and stargazing at a sky that, “stretches out as far as the eye can see.”

As a child fascinated by the sky and outer space, Kutryk always dreamed of being an astronaut even though the goal felt impossibly difficult to him, he says in the video.

“My father is the one who gave me my determination and sense of adventure. I was curious about how the world works, about how the universe works.”

Prior to becoming an astronaut, Kutryk had a career in the Canadian Armed Forces as a fighter and test pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. His accomplished background includes degrees in mechanical and flight test engineering.

In 2008, Kutryk found out the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) was recruiting new astronauts. At the end of the program he was one of 16 final candidates, but didn’t make the final cut.

Finally in 2017, Kutryk was selected as one of Canada’s astronaut candidates, undergoing intense training to prepare for missions. 

Starliner-1’s mission launch is targeted for the beginning of 2025 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Kutryk will conduct international and Canadian science experiments while also supporting maintenance activities and critical operations.

“Space is about collaborating for a better future. It's about our future; it's about Canadian prosperity,” says Kutryk in a CSA press release. Kutryk has been collaborating with the Starliner team in Houston since 2021.

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