Canadian astronauts Julie Payette and Robert Thirsk to go on space missions in 2009

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Longueuil, Quebec, February 11, 2008 - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), today announced that two Canadian Space Agency astronauts would be taking part in space missions in 2009.

"Guided by our Science and Technology Strategy, we are investing in talented, skilled and creative Canadians like Julie Payette and Dr. Robert Thirsk who have dedicated their professional lives in the service of discovery," said Minister Prentice. "Canadians can be proud of our contributions to space exploration and excited by the new chapters that will be written by our Canadian Astronauts in these upcoming missions."

Julie Payette will be on the Space Shuttle Endeavour for mission STS-127, with launch planned for April 2009. During mission STS-127, the crew will deliver the last elements of the Kibo laboratory contributed by the Japanese space agency, JAXA, to the International Space Station. The components are the external experiment module and its space platform. The Space Shuttle's six astronauts will take part in the mission. Julie Payette will serve as a mission specialist.

This will be Julie Payette's second mission in space and onboard the International Space Station--she took part in the STS-96 mission on board the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1999.

In May 2009, Dr. Robert Thirsk will be taking part in Expedition 19, becoming the first Canadian to remain on the International Space Station for a long stay, living there for 4 to 6 months. He will also be a member of the crew for the transition to a team of six astronauts living together continuously aboard the Station.

Since 2000, the Station has been inhabited permanently, and the astronauts and cosmonauts occupying it change upon the arrival of crew replacements. Robert Thirsk will fly to the ISS aboard a Soyuz craft that will be launched from Baikonour, in Kazahkstan.

Dr. Thirsk took part in mission STS-78, in 1996, on board the Space Shuttle Columbia, serving as a payload specialist.

About the CSA

Established in 1989, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is responsible for co-ordinating, on behalf of the Government of Canada, all civil programs and policies in the space field. There are four main thrusts for CSA activities: Earth observation, space exploration and science, satellite telecommunications, and space awareness and learning. The CSA leverages international collaboration to promote industrial development and world-class scientific research for the benefit of humanity.

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