N.B.'s shortlisted astronaut candidate can get job done
New Brunswick's Alex Delorey is feeling "proud and humbled" after making the Canadian Space Agency's short list to become the country's next astronaut.
Delorey, who grew up in Riverview, earned his engineering degree from the University of New Brunswick and now works in Milton, Ont., as a project manager refurbishing nuclear reactors.
Delorey credits his high school physics teacher, Ian Fogarty, for inspiring him as a teenager.
"I remember him really encouraging us to chase after what we were trying to learn, and he would kick me and a couple other guys out of the class some days and say, 'Just go videotape an experiment and come back and give us the results,' Delorey said. "So he really pushed us to learn on our own.
"He really helped prepare me for when I got into university and you had to work as a team and really figure out everything that you needed to do on your own."
Fogarty said he and his current students have been following Delorey and his quest to be one of two new Canadian astronauts.
"It's fantastic. My students are talking about it all the time," Fogarty told Delorey in a conversation on Information Morning Moncton.
"When you first made the top 32 it was all the buzz and it's been very much an inspiration to many of our students — in fact I have a couple of students ... when they first came into physics class said, 'I want to be an astronaut.'"
Fogarty said Delorey's progress is proof for those students that it is possible to go to space.
Delorey feels great when he hears stories like that. He said inspiring young people is a big part of what he has set out to do.
"There's a young man ... who lives in Fredericton and he and I have been emailing back and forth a little bit. He's asking for advice in what he should be taking in school. Another friend of mine's son — I've been Skyping with him and giving a little bit of advice of what he should be doing in university and helping him to chase after his dreams."
Fogarty isn't surprised his former student is doing so well in his bid to become an astronaut.
"I remember him being very much able to bring a team together, and when things were rough, being able to bring this light-heartedness," Fogarty said. "And I remember him being very punny and just being able to lighten the mood and still be on task and get lots of work done.
"I can understand why somebody would want him as a team member in space."
Delorey, who said he didn't always see becoming an astronaut as a realistic goal, hopes his success will inspire other New Brunswickers to think big.
"Astronaut was obviously a dream but it's a dream like, 'Try to go to the NHL,'" Delorey said. "And I was really excited when I saw the application and I realized I had a lot of the experience they were looking for."
Fogarty will continue to follow Delorey's progress and use him as an example for his students of how far you can go.
"Alex is a good example of this can-do, reach-for-the-stars — literally — idea that New Brunswickers can have," he said.