Two Canadian astronauts, and proud McGill alums, will visit the International Space Station next year
Industry Minister Jim Prentice, who is responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), has announced that mission specialist Julie Payette, BEng’86, will head to the International Space Station aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in April 2009. A month later, Robert Thirsk, MDCM'82, will make the same journey aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule and will be the first Canadian to remain at the station for an extended period, expected to be about six months.
This will be the second space mission for both astronauts. Payette, the second Canadian woman to have flown in space and the first to board the International Space Station, flew aboard Discovery in 1999. Thirsk was a payload specialist aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in 1996.
Payette and Thirsk are two of three McGill graduates who have participated in space missions. Dr. Dave Williams, BSc'76, MSc'83, MDCM'83, was a mission specialist aboard Endeavour in August 2007.