Artemis 2 Astronaut Jeremy Hansen Rides on Horseback During Calgary Stampede Parade

Artemis 2 astronaut Jeremy Hansen rides on horseback during the Calgary Stampede parade. Image credit: Canadian Space Agency.

Artemis 2 Moon mission astronaut Jeremy Hansen rode through the streets of Calgary earlier today (July 7) not on a space vehicle, but on horseback.

Hansen, the Canadian Space Agency representative aboard Artemis 2, was the Parade Marshall for this years Calgary Stampede. He made the journey in his astronaut flight suit and a white cowboy hat; the hat will be donated to the Calgary Stampede Museum after the event.

His ride was Cisco, a veteran horse who has been through a few Stampedes before this year, Hansen said on Twitter. “Thank you to everyone involved in this event and for your trust as I took on this meaningful role,” Hansen wrote in one of the tweets.

Though Hansen was a farm child near London, Ont., he told CBC’s The HomeStretch last month that he does “not have a lot of horseback riding experience.” But he said the life of an astronaut often means “you just get thrown into things, and you’ve just got to make it work.”

Hansen added an analogy that astronauts often cite in training: “I’ll lean on the people that are around me.” Astronauts learn to work with team members to bring out everyone’s particular expertise during a mission, which is something that surely the Artemis 2 astronauts are working on as they continue their training that started in late May.

Artemis 2 will include Hansen and three NASA astronauts, all flown before: Reid Wiseman, Christina Koch and Victor Glover. Hansen is unflown, but has built up considerable space policy and management experience since joining CSA in 2009; the reason for his wait is only two other astronauts have flown in 14 years given CSA’s 2.3% contribution to the International Space Station.

Hansen’s experience includes numerous informal advisory roles to Canadian government and government officials, serving as the training schedule coordinator (and mentor) to the entire 2017 NASA astronaut class, and coordinating the four spacewalks for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer repair aboard ISS that were likened to Hubble’s in terms of the task complexity.

Since being named to the Artemis 2 crew on April 3, Hansen has vaulted to even more senior levels of representative experience. He appeared on stage – and even introduced – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa on July 1. (Other CSA astronauts have appeared on stage there before, but not in that context.)

Hansen also served as the flag-bearer at the coronation of Charles III on May 6, and – with the rest of the Artemis 2 crew – spent several days in Washington, D.C. recently meeting with politicians and advisors to discuss the NASA program and Canadian contributions to it.

That’s not to mention Hansen’s appearances to generate publicity among different audiences, such as speaking on television with comedian Stephen Colbert, walking the red carpet at the “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” space movie premiere, and appearing at the court of the NCAA tournament championship game in Houston hours after the Artemis 2 announcement.

Hansen is the second CSA astronaut to be Parade Marshall, after Chris Hadfield did it twice in 2001 and 2013 in association with Hadfield’s last two space missions. As is also typical among astronauts, Hansen told the Canadian Press he sought advice from Hadfield (who is now retired) to prepare for the parade opportunity.

The Artemis 2 seat came about after the CSA, through MDA, contributed Canadarm3 for the Gateway space station. The contribution will give CSA astronauts two other seats on moon missions at the least, including possible ones on Artemis 2 and Artemis 4, according to recent comments by CSA officials.

As for the ISS, Canada committed to extending its participation to 2030 alongside most of the other major partners (Russia plans on departing in 2028, in the wake of the Ukrainian invasion it undertook last year to the condemnation of the international community.)

A Canadian generally flies to the space station every six years or so, which means another opportunity will be coming up shortly for the other three active astronauts given the last such mission was 2018-19. David Saint-Jacques (who flew then), alongside astronauts Jenni Sidey-Gibbons and Joshua Kutryk who have yet to fly, are all eligible.

About Elizabeth Howell

Is SpaceQ's Associate Editor as well as a business and science reporter, researcher and consultant. She recently received her Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota and is communications Instructor instructor at Algonquin College.

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