Celebrating 20 years of Canadians in Space

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2004

image Vancouver, B.-C., October 6, 2004 - A Canadian space milestone was commemorated today when Dr. Marc Garneau, President of the Canadian Space Agency, was joined by Chief Astronaut Julie Payette, Astronauts Chris Hadfield and Bjarni Tryggvason, Vancouver students, and numerous dignitaries at the H. R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver. Twenty years ago, on October 5, 1984, all eyes in Canada were drawn the launch and pride swelled, as Marc Garneau became the first Canadian to lift off and travel into space.

Since then, eight Canadian astronauts have participated in 11 space missions. Many Canadian space milestones have been recorded over the past two decades including, Roberta Bondar, in 1992, who became the first Canadian woman to experience microgravity. In 1995, Chris Hadfield, visited the Russian Space Station Mir, manoeuvring the renowned Canadarm to install a module that would make docking on Mir easier for American Shuttle spacecraft. In 1998, Dr. Dave Williams took part in a Neurolab space flight to study the effects of microgravity and long-duration space flight on the human brain. Julie Payette visited the International Space Station in 1999, becoming the first Canadian to set foot inside this incredible floating laboratory being built by Canada and 14 other countries. Dr. Marc Garneau flew his third space mission in 2000 for a total lifetime record of 677 hours in space. And in 2001, Chris Hadfield returned to space to take Canada's first spacewalk and install Canadarm2. This was a proud moment for Canada and Canadians when our maple leaf floated in space, 400 km above Earth!

"Sometimes I can't believe it's been 20 years!" said Marc Garneau, President of the Canadian Space Agency and first Canadian to travel to space. "But I am extremely proud of all that Canada has accomplished in this short time. We have positioned ourselves as leaders in niche markets such as robotics, Earth observation, and telecommunications. Our astronauts, engineers and scientists, all share that drive, that sense of excitement about space and the boundless opportunity it offers. I am very pleased with our accomplishments as a nation, and I'm excited by the possibilities as we look forward to the next 20 years!"

Space flight was once only a dream for young Canadian stargazers; now it's an opportunity. Canadian astronauts, engineers, scientists, researchers, and space-industry leaders share the belief that science and technology breakthroughs will advance our understanding of the planet, the universe and our place in it. As dedicated professionals, these exceptional Canadians are collaborating to continue to achieve global recognition for Canada's leading space science, technological excellence and expertise.

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989 and with its headquarters situated in Longueuil, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency is responsible for coordinating all civil, space-related policies and programs related to science and technology research, industrial development, and international cooperation on behalf of the Government of Canada. The Canadian Space Agency directs its resources and activities through four key thrusts: Earth Observation, Space Science and Exploration, Satellite Communications, and Space Awareness and Learning. With the overall responsibility for advancing Canada's space policy and programs, the Canadian Space Agency leverages international cooperation to champion world-class scientific research and industrial development for the benefit of humanity.

For more on the 20th anniversary and the Canadian Space Program, visit or contact:

Carole Duval
Media Relations, Canadian Space Agency
Media line: (450) 926-4370
Direct line: (450) 926-4972

Subscribe to the Canadian Space Agency News Room and receive by e-mail, on a regular basis, the latest news on the Canadian Space Program. To subscribe, visit

Julie Simard
Conseillère en communications, Relations médias /Communications Advisor,
Media Relations
6767, route de l'Aéroport, St-Hubert (Québec) J3Y 8Y9
Tél.: (450) 926-6651
Fax (450) 926-4352
Cell.: (514) 241-3327

// end //

More news releases and status reports or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.