OTTAWA -- Engineer and doctor David Saint-Jacques will be Canada's next astronaut, heading to the international space station in 2018.

Minister of Science and Innovation Navdeep Bains made the announcement this morning.

"I promise to live up to your expectations," Saint-Jacques told a group of school children gathered at an Ottawa museum for the announcement.

"A mission like this makes Canada much bigger."

Saint-Jacques, 46, is the only active members of the Canadian Astronaut Corps.

He beat out London astronaut Jeremy Hansen who was also in the running.

Last year, then-industry minister James Moore announced that two Canadian astronauts would be going to the space station by 2024 -- one by 2019 and one by 2024 -- but he didn't say who would be first.

Chris Hadfield, who was commander of the International Space Station in 2013, was the most recent Canadian in space.