Eli Ridder | Report
David Saint-Jacques became the ninth Canadian astronaut as he jettisoned to space early Monday morning on the first manned mission to the International Space Station since a rocket failure just less than two months ago.
Saint-Jacques, 48, is joined by Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and American astronaut Anne McClain on the mission, which is scheduled to last for over six months.
The capsule successfully connected with the ISS and Saint-Jacques and his colleagues were able to board safely.
The launch from Kazakhstan comes after an incident on Oct. 11 that saw a Russian Soyuz rocket fail less than two minutes after launching, forcing an emergency landing by the Russian and American inside the capsule.
The Canadian Space Agency gave assurances for this launch, and Saint-Jacques’ Soyuz capsule reached orbit successfully, as the likely last Canadian to ride the Russian craft as human launches are set to return to the United States in 2019.
Saint-Jacques will spend his time at the ISS conducting experiments, operating the Canadian-built Canadarm2 and testing new technologies, the Canadian Space Agency said.
Several of the experiments will focus on the physical effects of the weak gravity astronauts experience in orbit, as well as how to provide remote medical care, reported CBC News.
Saint-Jacques is the first Canadian astronaut to rocket off to the shared space station in orbit above earth since Chris Hatfield visited in 2013, when he captured the country and world with his social media posts and interactions.
The astronaut Canada sent up on Monday is a doctor who also has two degrees, one in engineering and another in astrophysics, as well as a commercial pilot’s licence.
Saint-Jacques was originally scheduled for takeoff for Dec. 20, but the time slot was moved up after the previous failed launch.
Image of David Saint-Jacques from Wikimedia Commons.