When CSA astronaut and McGill alumnus Dr. Dafydd Williams boards Space Shuttle Endeavor for his second flight into space on June 28th, he will be wearing his heart, or at least his affection for his alma mater, on his sleeve. Like all Canadian astronauts, Dr. Williams chooses a unique patch design to reflect elements of his background and the Canadian content of Mission STS-118. For this mission, he chose to highlight his McGill connection by having a current student design his patch.
On Friday, March 2nd, McGill University and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will host a news conference to announce the winner of the Mission STS-118 Space Patch Design Contest. The winning student and Dr. Williams will unveil the design at 10:00 a.m. on the mezzanine of the Lorne M. Trottier Building, 3630 University Street.
Dr. Williams, a specialist in emergency medicine, graduated from McGill with a BSc'76 (Biology), an MSc'83 (Physiology), a Doctorate in Medicine and Master of Surgery in ‘83. In 1992 the CSA selected Williams as one of four successful candidates from a field of over 5,000 applicants to begin astronaut training. In 1998, Dr. Williams participated in STS-90 as Mission Specialist 3 aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. From July 1998 until September 2002, he was Director of the Space and Life Sciences Directorate at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, the first non-American to hold a senior management position within NASA. In 2001, he became an aquanaut through his participation in the joint NASA-NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) NEEMO 1 mission, becoming the first Canadian to have lived and worked in both space and in the ocean. During the 11-day mission to add a truss segment and relocate solar arrays on the International Space Station, he will perform three spacewalks.
Dr. Williams is one of three McGill graduates who have participated in space missions: Julie Payette, BEng'86, is the second Canadian woman to have flown in space and the first to board the International Space Station. Engineer and medical doctor Robert Thirsk, MDCM'82, flew on the space shuttle Columbia as a payload specialist in 1996.
On the Web: www.space.gc.ca