Ottawa's Marc Evans vying to be Canada's next astronaut

It's been years since Marc Evans fired model rockets with his dad as a kid — and now he has a chance to ride one.​

Evans, who was born in Quebec City but now lives in Ottawa, is competing to to be one of Canada's next astronauts.

"It's very inspiring stuff," he told Alan Neal, host of CBC Ottawa's All In A Day last week.  "I've always wanted to go to space."

From an applicant pool of more than 3,700 applicants, Evans first made the Canadian Space Agency's shortlist of 72 people and has now survived the first cut to make the top 32 list.  

In the end, two people will land spots in its program.

"Not going to lie, it feels pretty good," Evans said.

While his dreams might be among the stars, the rest of Evans' life is firmly rooted in scientific thinking. On the agency's website, his personal motto listed as "evidence-based decision making."

As an engineer for Med-Eng, an Ottawa-based company that builds bomb disposal robots and other equipment for bomb technicians, Evans is hoping his day job will give him an edge.

"There's actually some interesting parallels between the equipment that we develop and the stuff that astronauts use. So you know astronauts wear space suits — well, Med-Eng designs the bomb suit that's worn by 85 per cent of the world market," he said.

"I've had lots of opportunities to wear the suit."

Tested mentally, physically

The competition marks only the fourth time in Canadian space history that the agency has embarked on an astronaut search.

Evans has already begun testing and he'll find out if he's made the final cut in the summer.

"We've been tested, mentally, physically, I won't say emotionally, but it's been great fun," he said.

Evans said the physical tests have included running "until you felt like you were going to be sick," while some of the mental tests have been less obvious.

"They're putting you in situations, stressing you out, trying to make you fail at something and see how you react. They put you in a challenge and change the rules half way through," he said.

Even if Evans, the father of a 14-month old, makes it to the end, he'll need another two years of training before he can call himself an astronaut.

"I'd love to do it all," he said.