Canada's two new astronauts are getting a tour of the space agency on the South Shore.

They began their visit to the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert Tuesday morning.

Calgary's Jennifer Sidey and Joshua Kutryk of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., were named by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday as the country marked its 150th birthday.

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

Sidey, who will be 29 in August, says her dreams of becoming an astronaut date back to 1992 when Roberta Bondar went into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. She becomes Canada’s third female astronaut.

A biography posted on the space agency's website says Kutryk, 35, was fascinated with space as a child and that he said he knew his life would focus on helping to explore it.

Together, they become Canada’s 13th and 14th astronauts, beating out almost 4,000 applicants from across the country in a grueling one-year application process.

The tests weren’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.

“If you’re looking for specific examples, you want to think of things like solving puzzles while you’re at the bottom of a pool on approaching minute two of one breath hold. It’s difficult stuff like that, where you’re doing difficult cognitive work, while also operating at the boundaries of your physical ability,” said Kutryk.

"It's adapting to the environment and really settling in so much so that we can learn," Sidey said.
"Because we need to learn a lot and we need to learn it pretty quickly, so that's a big challenge."

Sidey and Kutryk will move to Houston this month to start a two-year training program.

They will have to wait before they can go into space – Quebec’s David Saint-Jacques is the next Canadian in line, going to space in November 2018.

With files from CTV Montreal