Canadians have a shot at being hired as an astronaut for the first time since 2009.
Meet some of Canada’s keenest astronaut candidates
Doctors, teacher, Mars One candidate among those vying to go to space
Current location: Calgary
Occupation: Owner of OrbitOne space consulting company
Education/Experience: Canadian air cadet and United Space School at Johnson Space Center during high school; B.Eng. in mechanical engineering at University of Toronto, master’s in space management at International Space University; astronaut trainer with Airbus and European Space Agency; collaborated with Canadian astronauts to fly two life science experiments on the International Space Station; scuba certification
Why he wants to be an astronaut:
When he was five, Merali visited the Kennedy Space Center with his family. Then at seven, his father took him to meet Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar. “It was the ember that lit my fire,” he recalled.
Since then, he’s been looking for work and opportunities that allow him to be part of the space industry and could potentially help him become an astronaut.
“Being an astronaut, you’re on the forefront of exploration and knowledge gathering and experience. It’s one thing to be able to do that, but then also be an ambassador and share that with the world as well. And I think those two combined really excite me,” said Merali, who is very active on social media.
He hopes humans may soon go back to the moon, and the astronauts recruited in this round may get a chance. “I think Canada having a more involved role with going back to the moon is quite exciting.”