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To date there have only been twelve Canadian astronauts selected. That is not because there aren’t qualified Canadians mind you, but because the program is fairly new in terms of space agencies. These are the names of all of the people selected by the Canadian Space Program to be astronauts: Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Robert Thirsk, Kenneth Money, Bjarni Tryggvason, and Steve MacLean were the first class of astronauts in the program. The second class included Chris Hadfield, Julie Payette, Dafydd Williams, and Mike Mackay. The last group, selected in 2009, are Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques. Sadly, Mike Mackay retired without a space flight for medical reasons and Kenneth Money retired in 1992 without having made it into space. This article has a brief account of the experiences of each astronaut who has manned a spaceflight.
Roberta Bondar is Canada’s first female astronaut and the first neurologist in space. Following more than a decade as NASA’s head of space medicine, Bondar became a consultant and speaker in the business, scientific and medical communities. She was aboard one spaceflight. She helped man the space shuttle Discovery that was launched on January 22, 1992.
Marc Garneau was the first Canadian in space. Beyond being an astronaut, he is an engineer and a politician. He has taken part in three flights aboard space shuttles and he was the president of the Canadian Space Agency from 2001 to 2006. He went into space aboard the Challenger in October, 1984, the Endeavour in May, 1996, and the Endeavour again in November of 2000. In addition to his spaceflights, he worked as CAPCOM for several other shuttle flights.
Robert Thirsk holds the Canadian records for the longest space flight (187 days 20 hours) and the most time spent in space (204 days 18 hours). He is also an engineer and a physician. His first flight was aboard the space shuttle Columbia in June, 1996. His second mission marked a couple of Canadian firsts: he was the first Canadian to fly aboard a Soviet launch vehicle, the Soyez-FG and he was the first Canadian on a permanent International Space Station crew.
Bjarni Tryggvason was born in Iceland, but his family relocated to Canada where he became an engineer and astronaut. He served as payoad specialist on the space shuttle Discovery in August, 1997. The 12-day mission studied changes in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Steve MacLean is the current President of the Canadian Space Agency. He was appointed on September 2, 2008. He has made two spaceflights: one aboard the shuttle Columbia in October, 1992 and the other aboard the Atlantis in September, 2006. During the 2006 mission, he became the first Canadian to operate the robotic arm Canadarm2 and he was only the second Canadian to perform a spacewalk.
Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space. He entered space on the Atlantis in November, 1995. During that mission he became the only Canadian to visit the soviet space station, Mir. His second mission was aboard the shuttle Endeavour in April, 2001. During that mission, he became the first Canadian to have a spacewalk.
Julie Payette is an engineer as well as an astronaut. She has had two spaceflights and has logged 25 days in space. ON her flight aboard the Discovery in May of 1999, she became the first Canadian to visit the International Space Station. Her second spaceflight was aboard the Endeavour in July, 2009. This flight marked several milestones in Canadian space history. She was the first woman to return to space, it was the first time two Canadians were is space at the same time, most humans in space at the same time(13), and the most nations represented in space at the same time(5).
Dafydd Williams is a physician who flew on two space shuttle missions. His first mission was aboard the Columbia in April, 1998. His second was aboard the shuttle Endeavour in August, 2007 during which he performed a spacewalk.
As a side note, Guy Laliberte went into space in September, 2009 aboard the Soyuz TMA-16 as the first Canadian space tourist.
The newest group of Canadian astronauts are not scheduled to go into space for at least five years. Keep in mind that these are brief paragraphs about the accomplishments of national heroes. Each has had space related accomplishments other than the spaceflights that they made. For more information, please search them individually on the web. Here on Universe Today we have a great article about the Canadian Arrow rocket project. Astronomy Cast offers an good episode about the Space Shuttle Program.
Source: Canadian Space Agency