Astronaut Maker Boot Camp

A course for space exploration fans who want to learn maker skills and technologies. No experience required – get up to speed with maker tech and geek out about space exploration!

An astronaut on a spaceship is the ultimate maker. No matter what fails or goes wrong, only you can fix it, and you only have the materials on-hand. It’s a vital skill for successful spaceflight!” ~ Canadian Icon, Col. Chris Hadfield


Chris Hadfield has retired, and with only 2 remaining Canadian astronauts on active duty, Canada needs more astronauts! The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has officially launched a recruitment campaign to find Canada’s next two astronauts.

Are you Canada’s next astronaut?  Image credit: Canadian Space Agency


If you want to be an astronaut (or train like one!), you need to be resourceful, work in a team, be motivated, problem solve, be a critical thinker, and support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) learning! Basically, a key asset is to be a Maker!

Requirements and conditions of employment for astronauts as listed by CSA. Image credit: CSA



Join STEAMLabs co-founder Andy Forest for a unique ‘out of this world’ 10-week experience.



Through consultation with Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield, 5-time NASA shuttle astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski, current NASA astronaut Dr. Stan Love, and Jeff Stone, NASA JSC Operations Support Officer/Repair and Mechanisms, International Space Station Maintenance Training, we’ve developed a program for training anyone in astronaut maker skills!



“Every crewmember must wear multiple hats, and be able to contribute and problem solve whatever might happen on a complex mission.”  ~ NASA Astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski



Spacewalker Scott Parazynski, anchored to a foot restraint on the end of Discovery’s boom, works to repair a damaged solar array on the International Space Station. During the 7-hour, 19-minute spacewalk, Parazynski cut a snagged wire and installed homemade stabilizers dubbed “cufflinks,” designed to strengthen the damaged solar array’s structure and stability in the vicinity of the damage. Image credit: NASA


You’ll spend the first 5 weeks of this boot camp, learning basic maker skills by designing and building your own horticulture science experiment based on real design considerations for the International Space Station. No prior experience is required, as we will teach you everything you need to know. If you do have experience with any of these technologies, our expert teachers will help you take that knowledge further by working on a more advanced challenge. Bonus: this spin-off technology can be used at home!

Tomato plants growing in the Plant Development Habitat, which was used on the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA


  • Digital Fabrication – 3D printing and laser cutting
    NASA sees digital fabrication techniques such as 3D printing as key to long term space missions to allow easy creation of spare parts and new tools. Design and build a transparent acrylic enclosure for your hydroponic plant experiment. 3D print lighting mounts, irrigation tube connectors and more.
  • Electronics
    Life in space is made possible by a myriad of electronic systems, from collecting power from solar panels, using sensors to collect data, processing air to breathe, navigating spacecraft, and communicating with the earth below. You will learn how to build basic electronic circuits, hooking up moisture and light sensors and actuators for automatic watering.
  • Coding & Robotics – Arduino, HTML & CSS
    Arduino is a platform used by beginners and experts alike for building all kinds of robotics projects. Learn the coding necessary to read sensor and network data and control your actuators and LED lighting. Report your sensor data back to the network and build a web-based dashboard to monitor your experiment’s status and manually control its systems.
  • Maintenance & Troubleshooting
    Learn how to troubleshoot electronics. You can learn a lot from how things fail, and even more by repairing them!


“Today, Space Station crews spend about a third of their working hours tearing apart and repairing onboard equipment that breaks. We’re finding that hands-on maintenance and repair skills are among the most important abilities an astronaut can have!  That will be even more true when we go further into space from low Earth orbit and no longer have ready delivery of spare parts.”  ~ NASA Astronaut Dr. Stan Love

Image credit: NASA


Once you have the skills, you will spend the second 5 weeks of the boot camp solving real challenges faced by our astronaut consultants while they were in space. Did you know that they don’t have a space coffee cup with a way to add milk and sugar in zero g? Exercise is critical in space, or astronauts lose too much bone mass. Design a piece of equipment to give random / asymmetric heavy loads to hips and femur. Astronauts need down-time, too, but games designed for earth gravity don’t work well in zero g. Make some required changes or design a new one! The love of space exploration is spread by passionate people. Communicate an essentially scientific event artistically and ignite that passion in everyone!


Mondays 6:30PM – 9:30PM

10 week program | 3 hours per week

Monday 17th April – Monday 26th June

note: program skips Monday 22nd May (Victoria Day)


$560 per person (includes materials & 4 month membership)


STEAMLabs Maker Space, 192 Spadina Avenue, M5T 2C2

note: if the front door is locked, please use our back entrance at 49 Cameron Street, accessible through the green P parking lots 200m south of the building.

What to bring

No need to bring anything other than yourself and a device for taking notes (note pad & pen, tablet etc.) We default to supplying computers for you, but if you’d like to bring your own, please do!


Want to know more? Email us at


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