Yellowknife's Nathalie Sleno among 17 finalists to be Canada's next astronaut

Yellowknife's Nathalie Sleno has made the even shorter short list to become Canada's next astronaut.

The Canadian Space Agency announced its 17 finalists on Monday in the race to become Canada's next astronaut. Sleno, a mother of seven who's also a military doctor, pilot and teacher, was among the Canadians shortlisted.

Sleno, who was born in St. Albert, Alta., leads the 1 Field Ambulance Detachment in Yellowknife and works as an aviation medical officer with the 440 Squadron.

There were nearly 3,800 people who applied for the exclusive gig, and the field has been narrowed down to 12 men and five women. The space agency will pick two from the final 17 to become the next astronauts for Canada.

When Sleno made the short list of 72 candidates earlier this year, she told CBC she was thrilled and honoured.

"It doesn't seem that real, until I realize how close I am," she said at the time.

Applicants were put through a rigorous, year-long, multi-tiered selection process that tests physical capabilities, health and mental aptitudes.

According to the Canadian Space Agency website, candidates for the astronaut program are chosen for their academic background in science or technology, excellent health, and outstanding qualities and skills.

Twelve astronauts have been hired since the inception of the Canadian Space Agency in 1983.