Girl, 8, applies to astronaut program


MONTREAL – When she heard the Canadian Space Agency is looking to recruit new astronauts, eight-year-old Sahana Khatri figured she just might be what they’re looking for.

The Quebec girl spent a little more than a week working on her application before presenting it to her local representative, Vaudreuil-Soulanges MP Peter Schiefke.

In a video Schiefke posted to his Facebook page, Khatri can be seen reading aloud from her letter, which was addressed to Innovation and Science Minister Navdeep Bains.

“For a long time, I’ve wanted to be an astronaut,” the she reads.

Khatri stresses her credentials, mentioning her math and science skills, natural curiosity, and space-themed eighth birthday party.

“I think the Canadian Space Agency should choose me now to prepare me, so I’ll be ready when I’m old enough to go into space,” she says.

As of July 6, the Canadian Space Agency had already received over 3,300 applications for the two potential new spots in its program, but Khatri’s stood out enough to earn her a personal response from Bains.

“I was very inspired to see a young lady like yourself who wants to be an astronaut,” said Bains in a video response he posted to Facebook on Friday.

“As you know, you’re a bit too young now, but the future does look bright.”

At her family’s home in the Montreal suburb of Vaudreuil, Khatri said she was a little nervous when she saw Bains had responded.

“I was a bit nervous because I was wondering if he would say yes or no,” she said.

Her mother, Jasmine Sharma, said it took her daughter between a week and 10 days to write the letter with a little parental help.

Sharma said she was “quite touched” that Bains took the time to respond personally to her daughter.

“I think it’s going to be great motivation for her,” she said. “She took action, she took a leap, and she got a response.”

The Canadian Space Agency is accepting applications on its website from would-be astronauts until Aug. 15.

Candidates must have an academic background in science and technology, excellent health, and “a wide range of outstanding qualities and skills,” according to the agency.

They should also be prepared to face some stiff competition down the line, since Khatri isn’t giving up on her dream.

“I’m going to try again when I’m older,” she said. Eventually, her goal is to visit another planet.