Second time was the charm for Joshua Kutryk, but now the real works taking place.
 
The Fort's first astronaut is down in Houston, Texas, completing NASA's two-year candidate course at Johnson’s Space Center.
 
For Kutryk, the learning curve is much different from acquiring his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in defence studies.
 
"It's definitely a good kind of busy. The subject matter is stuff I've been interested in my whole life, so it's still very exciting to go to class and training events."
 
With so much in-depth learning, no two days are ever the same.
 
"I work a lot with extravehicular activities, so it's space walking, getting use to knowing how to use and operate the space suit. We do that in NASA's neutral buoyancy lab," said Kutryk. "We also study geology, space history, orbital mechanic stuff and at the moment a lot of Russian language."
 
Working with a Russian teacher is a daily occurrence.
 
"I'd say the most challenging part is the Russian language bit. Russian is in many ways completely different."
 
The former air force pilot in Cold Lake says he still regularly flies planes. He also spends plenty of time in the classroom learning about the "immensely complicated" International Space Station.
 
"The suit is a challenge. It's challenging physically and mentally. Obviously space is a very dangerous and hostile environment and the only thing that sustains human life in it is that space suit. There's a lot of highly technical systems running in it and they're all critical. You have to understand how to use them and react if things don't go quite right," added Kutryk. "We do runs that are about six hours long right now so it is a fatiguing experience and you're pretty tired when the day is over."
 
The once in a lifetime experience was announced on Canada Day of 2017. As soon as Kutryk heard his name called he was looking forward to one specific training exercise.
 
"The most exciting thing I do regularly is the space walk training. That's something that I think suits me and I really enjoy it."
 
Kutryk is in training with 12 Americans and one other Canadian.
 
When the basic training is finished, Kutryk will be qualified to be assigned to space missions. Which would once again require more specific training. 
 
Kutryk was born and spent the younger years of his life in Fort Saskatchewan.

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