Two Mac grads hope to become Canada's next astronauts

By Monique Beech and Matt Terry, February 3, 2017

Two McMaster alumni are among the 72 people hoping to become astronauts with the Canadian Space Agency.

Thomas Karakolis (BEng ’07, MASc ’10, Mechanical) and Charles-Philippe Lajoie (PhD, Physics and Astronomy '10) are among 72 candidates for the out of this world job.

Karakolis, who has a PhD in Kinesiology, is a defence scientist with the Department of National Defence. He researches how to prevent injury and improve the performance of members of the Canadian Armed forces. karakolis-thomas

“I want to become an astronaut to explore the unknown, help others, and advance our society's understanding of ourselves and the world around us,” Karakolis said on the Canadian Space Agency’s website. “I've always been a curious person, and have always wanted to push the boundaries of what I believe is possible. I would also love to serve as an inspiration to others, and to show that anything is possible when you have a dream.”

Lajoie is an astronomical optics scientist who works on the James Webb Space Telescope, a project led by the Canadian Space Agency, NASA and the European Space Agency. lajoie-charles-philippe

"As a kid growing up with images of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Apollo missions, becoming an astronaut has always been a dream, albeit one I knew is hard to reach," he says. "I also love pushing my limits and seeking new challenges and adventures, and I have always regarded an astronaut career as the embodiment of such a lifestyle. Now, with this opportunity to further Canada's space program and contribute to taking humankind back to the Moon and to Mars, I can only be grateful that another of my dreams might come true."

You can follow them through the selection process here.