Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Canada to Send Two Astronauts to Space by 2024

Industry Minister James Moore, flanked by Canadian astronauts Jeremy Hansen (left) and David Saint-Jacques (right), announces Canada's commitment to fly two Canadian astronauts to space by 2024 Tuesday. One is expected to fly in 2019, the other in 2024. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Canada's Industry Minister James Moore was joined Tuesday in Ottawa by Commander Chris Hadfield and astronauts Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques where he announced Canada's commitment to fly two Canadian astronauts to space by 2024. "Chris Hadfield made Canadians proud when he became the first Canadian to walk in space and command the International Space Station. Our government is committed to ensuring two more Canadians fly to space within the next decade. More importantly, it confirms a great future for Canada in space for years to come," Moore said. The announcement is the result of the government's decision to renew the country's participation in the International Space Station (ISS).

One Canadian astronaut is guaranteed a flight to space by 2019, the other by 2024. Selection of the Canadian Space Agency's (CSA) astronaut to fly first will be based on mission requirements, which will be discussed with ISS partners during the coming months.

Canada is the third country to extend its participation until 2024.

"I am delighted that Canada has committed to extending its participation in the International Space Station (ISS) through 2024, and its support for other exciting initiatives with NASA in space and Earth Science including the James Webb Space Telescope and the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

"The Canadian Space Agency's Mobile Servicing System, robotics expertise and crew members continue to provide critical contributions to the ISS program. A commitment to continuing to utilize this tremendous resource will enable the international research community to accomplish important goals including cutting-edge research and technology development that will enable human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, including asteroids and Mars. We look forward to our future cooperation," he added.

Tuesday's announcement follows in the footsteps of Col. Chris Hadfield's historic mission as Commander of the ISS. This commitment will ensure that both Jeremy Hansen and David Saint-Jacques, Canada's active astronauts will fly to space. It also signals Canada's involvement in future space missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

CSA will also provide $10.5 million to continue technical support for Canadarm2, Dextre, and the mobile base on the ISS.

Four new Canadian science experiments to be conducted aboard the ISS in the fall. The experiments, led by Canadian universities, will test the effects of weightlessness on the human body and investigate health issues stemming from space travel.


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