Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Canadians in Space

Canada is relatively new at the astronaut game. The search for Canada's first person in space didn’t begin until 1983, when the United States invited its neighbour to join the crew of the space shuttle. The National Research Council of Canada asked interested people to apply: 4,000 responded.

The Canadian Astronaut Program was born when the NRC whittled down the list to six bona fide astronauts-in-training. They were Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Steve MacLean, Ken Money, Robert Thirsk and Bjarni Tryggvason.

As of July 2005, 10 Canadians have trained to be astronauts. Eight have tested their skills in space, but two – Ken Money and Mike McKay – haven't flown a space mission.

Astronauts (first row, left to right) Roberta Bondar, Chris Hadfield, Robert Thirsk, Bjarni Tryggvason, and (second row, left to right) Marc Garneau, Steve Maclean, Julie Payette and Dave Williams pose for a photo at the John H. Chapman Space Centre in St. Hubert, Que., on Friday, Sept. 26, 2003. All eight Canadians who have spent time in space attended a ceremony where Canada Post unveiled an eight-stamp set. (Andre Pichette/Canadian Press)

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