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Successful Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour - Marc Garneau on his Third Mission in Space

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Friday, December 1, 2000

Saint-Hubert, December 1, 2000 _ Space Shuttle Endeavour, with Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Astronaut Marc Garneau aboard, lifted off last night at 22:06:01.043 EST from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for a scheduled 12-day mission. The Honourable Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry Canada and Minister responsible for the CSA, and W. M. (Mac) Evans, CSA President, were at KSC to witness the lift-off.

"This flight marks the culmination of a long odyssey for Marc Garneau and reminds us once again of Canada's many accomplishments in space - something for which every Canadian can be proud," stated Mr. Tobin who, for the first time, witnessed a launch, on-site at Cape Canaveral.

CSA President W. M. (Mac) Evans highlighted the importance of Marc Garneau's mission in the assembly of the International Space Station (ISS). "Marc will install the ISS solar panels that will provide the electricity needed to power all the Station's systems, including life support, equipment for scientific experiments and day-to-day operations, and to ensure survival of the crew. The critical responsibilities that he has been assigned with for this mission, some of which are truly a first in Canadian history, are indicative of the excellent reputation of Canadian Space Agency astronauts," said Mr. Evans.

The first eight minutes

Marc Garneau played an important role in the critical and fast-paced first eight-and-a-half minutes it took the Shuttle to reach the desired orbit. His task was to support the Commander and the Pilot in the cockpit. Dr. Garneau is the first non-American to hold the position of Flight Engineer. Once the Shuttle reaches its destination, the Canadian astronaut will take part in the data management needed for docking the Shuttle to the International Space Station (ISS). It will be the first time a shuttle will dock with the Station since the arrival of the first ISS permanent crew on November 2.

Powering up the ISS

STS-97's main objective is to install the first set of solar arrays on the Space Station. Marc Garneau will use the Canadarm to remove the solar panels from the shuttle bay so they may be fixed to the Space Station. From inside the Shuttle, he will coordinate the space walks of his two American crewmates, as they complete the installation procedure.

Mission STS-97 marks the 15th flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour and is the 101st flight of a shuttle since April 1981. Marc Garneau was the first Canadian astronaut in space; STS-97 marks Dr. Garneau's third voyage in space.

The largest engineering project ever undertaken, the International Space Station is being built jointly by Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan, Brazil and 11 European countries. Once completed, the Station will cover an area as large as a football field (108 x 74 metres) and weigh 450 tons. Orbiting at an average altitude of 400 kilometres, it flies regularly over Canada and is already visible to the naked eye.

The Canadian contribution to the International Space Station, the Mobile Servicing Systems (MSS), is made up of three elements: a next-generation Canadarm called the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS); a smaller, detachable two-armed robot, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), that can be placed on the end of the SSRMS to perform delicate operations; and the Mobile Remote Servicer Base System, a movable platform for the robotic arm and the SPDM, which will slide along rails located on the Space Station's main structure to transport the arm to various points on the Station. In April 2001, CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield will become the first Canadian Astronaut to perfom a space walk when he installs the new Canadian robotic arm on the International Space Station.

Canada is also contributing the Space Vision System (CSVS), that provides information on the exact location, orientation and motion of a specific target, allowing Astonauts manipulating the SSRMS to handle its payloads precisely and safely. The Mobile Servicing System Operations Complex (MOC), a Ground Segment located at CSA headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec completes Canada's contribution to the ISS and will be used to plan missions, monitor the health of the robotic arm, and to train astronauts and cosmonauts.

Established in 1989 and situated in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space Program and manages five core functions: Earth and Environment, Space Science, Human Presence in Space, Satellite Communications, and Space Technologies. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

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For more information:

Caroline Lavallée
Senior Communications Officer
Canadian Space Agency
Tel.: (450) 926-4370
E-mail: caroline.lavallee@space.gc.ca
Marc Garneau STS-97 Mission Website: www.space.gc.ca/sts97-garneau

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