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Astronauts Jenni Gibbons and Joshua Kutryk to contribute to future mission to the moon

EVA 3 - Robinson on Canadarm2

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), announced two significant assignments for CSA astronauts. Jenni Gibbons will serve as the backup astronaut for the historic Artemis II mission to the Moon, while Joshua Kutryk has been assigned to a six-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS) launching aboard Starliner-1.

Recruited as CSA astronauts in 2017, Jenni and Joshua completed their basic training together in 2020. Since then, they have continued to serve Canada’s space program and worked in different positions, including guiding spacewalks from Mission Control and overseeing commercial vehicle procedures and daily ISS operations.

In the event that Jeremy Hansen is unable to take part in the mission, Jenni Gibbons will represent Canada on Artemis II. Being part of this very select team will make her a key contributor to defining and validating the astronauts’ training and processes for future Moon missions. Jenni will have the chance to influence how future Artemis missions will unfold and how to prepare for them.

Joshua Kutryk is scheduled to launch aboard the Boeing CST-100 Starliner no earlier than the beginning of 2025, on what is planned to be the Starliner’s first operational mission. This will be Joshua’s first mission, making him the fourth CSA astronaut to take part in a long-duration mission aboard the ISS and the first one to fly under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

As we prepare to send humans to the Moon, we still need to deepen our understanding of what is required to allow humanity to live, learn and work in the harsh environment of space. Sustainable until 2030 and beyond, the ISS remains a laboratory where ground-breaking scientific research can unfold under conditions similar to deep-space human spaceflight.

Over the last four decades, Canada’s astronauts have earned a world-class reputation. Jenni’s and Josh’s assignments contribute to preparing CSA astronauts for increasingly challenging roles in space missions and cement Canada’s reputation as a sought-after partner for space exploration. In doing so, they will inspire Canadians across the country and spark interest in STEM-related careers for countless young people.

Keep an eye out for our Annual Space Report in the next issue coming December 2023



“These assignments are clear proof of the impressive reputation our astronaut corps has. From the International Space Station to the Moon, Jenni Gibbons and Joshua Kutryk are about to write an exciting new chapter of Canada’s history in space. Since their recruitment, they have both distinguished themselves repeatedly through their work with NASA and the CSA. Canadian astronauts are modern-day explorers, making them tremendous role models for Canada’s future scientists, engineers and explorers.”

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“It is an honour to fill this role for my agency and my country to make the most of the opportunity afforded to us by our contributions to the international effort of lunar discovery. Space is for everyone: as Canadians, we recognize its essential nature in our day-to-day life, economic well-being, and commitment to technological advancement. As a part of the Artemis II backup crew, I will work to define and develop the procedures and architecture required for humanity’s return to the Moon. I will be a crew test subject for critical operations from launch to splashdown and recovery. I will train as a capsule communicator, ready to act as the link between the ground team and the Artemis missions when in Mission Control. I will train alongside the crew and will be ready to support them in whatever capacity their mission requires. Finally, I will be prepared for future missions critical to Canada’s space program. I look forward to bringing Canada with me on this journey.”

– Jenni Gibbons, Canadian Space Agency astronaut

“I am grateful to represent Canada on this mission. Space, for me, is about curiosity, adventure, innovation and science. But it’s also about collaboration. Collaboration towards future opportunities. Space is about collaborating for a better future. It’s about our future; it’s about Canadian prosperity. Our country decided decades ago to invest in space because it helps us solve challenges for Canadians, and we are still driven by this purpose today. I’m committed to making the most out of this incredible opportunity for our country.”

– Joshua Kutryk, Canadian Space Agency astronaut

Quick facts

  • Since the early 1980s, Canada’s astronauts have advanced science and technology and inspired Canadians. Nine extraordinary CSA astronauts have flown to space 17 times
  • The Artemis II mission is currently scheduled to launch no earlier than November 2024 while the Starliner-1 mission is targeted for no earlier than the beginning of 2025. Both missions will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Artemis II

  • Artemis II is the first crewed mission to the lunar vicinity since 1972. The approximately 10-day mission is designed to test the Orion spacecraft’s systems, adapted to meet the needs of a crew on board.
  • Backup astronauts are typically trained in a similar way to the prime crew to ensure they are prepared to take on the same duties and responsibilities with very little advance notice.

Lunar exploration

  • In March 2023, funding of $1.43 billion was announced as part of the federal budget to further contribute to lunar exploration, including:
    • $1.2 billion over 13 years to develop and contribute a lunar utility vehicle to assist astronauts on the Moon
    • $76.5 million over 8 years, in support of Canadian science and technology demonstrations on the Lunar Gateway


  • During his mission, Joshua Kutryk will conduct Canadian and international science experiments and technology demonstrations. He will also support critical operations and maintenance activities.
  • Joshua Kutryk has been working with the Starliner team in Houston since 2021. He has been selected to be the capcom for the ascent and re-entry of the first flight with crew of the CST-100 Starliner vehicle.


  • In March 2023Canada formally confirmed its participation in the ISS through 2030.
  • The ISS is a key stepping stone for future exploration destinations, helping us learn how to live and work in space. It is an important testbed for the demonstration of innovative technologies and cutting-edge experiments.


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