Monday, May 16, 2016

David Saint-Jacques will Visit the International Space Station (ISS) in 2018

          By Chuck Black

In an old style public relations blast from the past, complete with media scrums, small adoring children, an idealized focus on pure science and exploration uncluttered by context and even a comment about boldly going "where no man has gone before," Federal innovation minister Navdeep Bains, a self described "big believer in space" who called the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) the "most exciting aspect of my portfolio," has announced the next Canadian visitor to the International Space Station (ISS).

Innovation minister Bains and astronaut Saint-Jacques, surrounded by students from Marc Garneau Elementary School and the So-What Youth for Science Program, making the announcement that Saint-Jacques would visit the ISS in 2018. Later on, many of the adults retired to more private quarters for a series of off-the-record discussions between the CSA, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) and others, on a variety of topics. For the complete video of the public part of the event, simply click on the screen shot above. Screen shot c/o CSA.

At a press conference on Monday morning at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum (CASM) in Ottawa, Bains confirmed that astronaut David Saint-Jacques will visit the ISS for a six month period beginning in November 2018.

Saint-Jacques at the after announcement scrum. Photo c/o author
Saint-Jacques will be travelling to the ISS as part of the expedition 58/59 mission, on board a Russian Soyuz TMA-M spacecraft. As outlined on the CSA "Soyuz Spacecraft" webpage, the basic design has been operational since 1967 and is currently the only vehicle able to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS.

CSA president Sylvain Laporte was in the audience during the presentation, but took no formal part in the program.

Saint-Jacques, one of two current CSA astronauts, has a bachelor of engineering in engineering physics from École polytechnique de Montréal, a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Cambridge University, and a medical degree from the Université Laval in Quebec City. As outlined in the May 16th, 2016 Canadian Press article, "Next Canadian astronaut in space is also a doctor, engineer and astrophysicist," he's well qualified for the upcoming trip.

But he's also quite likely to be the last of the old school astronauts who were once tasked with inspiring our youth and expanding the limits of our scientific knowledge as part of a proudly public and national space agency.

A photo of the ideal Canadian astronaut towers over the innovation minister as he is surrounded by reporters looking for insight. In the background stand CSA president Laporte (on the left, with his back to the camera), astronaut Saint-Jacques and AIAC executive VP Iain Christie. Photo c/o author

Saint-Jacques' colleague, astronaut Jeremy Hansen, will likely fly to the ISS on one of the new SpaceX Dragon capsules as part of the US commercial crew program.

As outlined in the May 2nd, 2016 post, "SpaceX Announces Up-Rated Launch Capabilities & Pricing for Mars Trips," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has some interesting plans for really going "where no man has gone before," once those new spacecraft are fully functioning.

Chuck Black.
But for today, let's bask in the reminder of past glories offered up by the innovation minister at the CASM. There's surely nothing wrong in giving the government and its space agency the benefit of the doubt.

For today...

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see he went before Hansen. At the age of 46, don't think Saint-Jacques will make many more space trips. Canadian astronauts usually retire in their early 50'S.


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