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  Canada on the ISS: Payette and Thirsk

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Author Topic:   Canada on the ISS: Payette and Thirsk
music_space
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Posts: 1050
From: Canada
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posted 05-29-2009 01:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a mission specialist on STS-127, Montréal-born Julie Payette will soon join Robert "Bob" Thirsk, from Westminster, British Columbia, a member of Expedition 20/21, poised to dock to the ISS.

This marks very a exciting first for the Canadian Space Agency: first long-term-mission for a Canadian, first space meeting of two Canadians.

------------------
Francois Guay
Collector of litterature, notebooks, equipment and memories!

music_space
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Posts: 1050
From: Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 05-29-2009 02:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the occasion of the first flight of a Canadian on Russian hardware, Montreal-based media were invited to see the launch of Soyuz TMA-15 live from a TV feed (akin to the one embedded below), following a few in-person and remote presentations and preceding media interviews opportunities.

As early as the externals jettisoned, the Canadian Space Agency PAO spokesperson concluded the presentations and unleashed the media onto the speakers, while the flight was still six minutes from reaching orbit.

At third-stage separation, there was but a few of us still glued to the giant screen, while all around us interviews were heating up. As we cheered at the tale-tell jerk of the traditional "rear-view mirror ornament", the media and CSA personnel looked up and acknowledged, too, the end of ascent.

I thought that this spoke volumes about Soyuz' reputation of reliability!

music_space
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From: Canada
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posted 05-29-2009 08:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
STS-127 is to be Canadian Space Agency's Julie Payette second flight. By national and cultural background, Julie is as close to this space fan and to his fellow Quebecois as can be; what an exciting prospect!

As a mission specialist on STS-96, Payette first visited the Station in its infancy back in 1999. Now she gets to experience the ISS as it is close to completion, and to take part to this record-setting assembly of visitors.

music_space
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From: Canada
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posted 12-01-2009 02:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Canadian Space Agency has published a letter written by Robert Thirsk as he wound up his stay on board the ISS:
Six months aboard the International Space Station has flown by at orbital speed. If asked to do so, I could remain aboard the Station and continue to perform well. But I feel a fatigue setting in that even weekends and a good night's sleep cannot relieve. It is now time to return home.

The second half of this expedition has been just as exciting as the first. Crew activities in September and October were focused on HTV, the magnificent new Japanese cargo vehicle. We first glimpsed HTV in the distance below us on the morning of September 17 as a gold and blue iridescent gem against the backdrop of the blue ocean. It was an inspiring sight. Once HTV arrived at the Station, my crewmates and I leaped into action. At the controls of Canadarm2, Nicole Stott captured the large, free-flying spacecraft as it hovered 10 meters away. I then maneuvered and berthed HTV to a docking port on the underside of the Station.

A few days later Nicole and I extracted a large pallet from within the cargo vehicle with our Canadian robot arm and then, in a choreographed maneuver, handed it off to Frank De Winne and the Japanese robot arm for installation on the Kibo laboratory.

Following the departure of HTV, we docked a new Russian module to the Station. And last week the shuttle Atlantis and her crew spent a productive week with us. This action-packed expedition is ending with a bang, not a whimper!

Throughout the last months, we have continued to be involved in maintenance and repair activities. There was always some component of the Station's life support system that seemed to require our attention. Our most recent concern has been the Urine Processing Assembly. It has failed. This is the system that recycles our urine into pure drinking water. We have now determined that a spare part from the ground will be needed before our repair work can continue.

The most gratifying part of my Station experience has been the onboard research. One of the recent experiments I have operated is from Simon Fraser University. It is a colloidal engineering investigation called BCAT-5. Colloids are suspensions of tiny particles in a fluid, such as paint, ink, and even milk. The goal of BCAT-5 is to better understand the effect of phase separation on crystal growth. What we learn could improve the shelf-life of certain products and refine the manufacturing of plastics.

I also helped to initiate an interesting plant biology experiment from the University of New Brunswick. I bent the stems of young willow plants into loops as a means to better understand the fundamental processes by which plants produce cellulose and lignin, the two main structural materials found in wood.

During quieter moments, I have had opportunities for personal reflection. I am convinced that exploration, innovation and advanced education are important values for our nation to uphold. The acquisition of new skills is fundamental to the pursuit of personal dreams and corporate goals.

I have also reflected on the benefits of teamwork and international cooperation. The various mission control centres from around the world have worked well amongst themselves and with my crew. Even though separated by distance, we functioned as a single entity.

On December 1, I will return to Earth with two of my crewmates. After firing its main rocket, our Soyuz capsule will descend through the atmosphere in a fireball, followed by a parachute landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan. Later that day I will meet up with my wife and three children in Moscow. I dream of that moment. My next priority after that emotional reunion will be a long hot shower (although my children have suggested that I should have the shower before they greet me). I'm also looking forward to feeling the warm rays of sunshine on my skin and getting a decent haircut.

Re-acclimation to gravity will proceed slowly. I expect that my muscles, heart and sense of balance will recover to their pre-flight conditioning after several weeks. It will take many months for my skeleton to regain its lost bone density.

The end of my Station sojourn is bittersweet. I will miss the challenge of living in space. On every day of this expedition, some task has pushed my capabilities to a limit. Most of all, I will miss my wonderful crewmates. We had a special synergy.

I'm proud that I helped establish the International Space Station as a six-person laboratory. The Station is fully operational and has now entered its golden era. It hosts a wide variety of unique scientific investigations that cannot be performed on Earth.

With all of our expedition objectives accomplished, I am fulfilled. I thank the Canadian Space Agency for their trust in me and my family for their support.

And finally, I thank my fellow Canadians and international friends who have followed my journey. The relationships I've made through educational events, the kind words and pictures you shared with me, and the unremitting enthusiasm you've displayed bolstered my resolve. You inspired me to work at the performance level that this expedition requires, and for that I am profoundly grateful. I look forward to seeing you all on the ground.

issman1
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From: UK
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posted 01-20-2010 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was a bit surprised by Canadian astronaut Bob Thirks's comments that he does not wish to fly another long-duration mission aboard ISS.
"You don't get something for nothing," said the understated Houston-based astronaut, the first Canadian long-term resident of the space station, who was greeted by hundreds of cheering employees of the Canadian Space Agency on Montreal's south shore.

"I wouldn't do it again," Thirsk, a McGill University-trained doctor, said about the 125-million-kilometre journey with 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets every day and on which he lost 4 1⁄2 kilograms of muscle mass — most of which he's since regained.

Perhaps the fact that Thirsk is 56 was the issue. The article mentions that no other Canadians are scheduled to fly in the immediate future. I read somewhere that Thirsk's back-up, Chris Hadfield, was in line for the next long-duration mission by a Canandian. Has he retired?

Delta7
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From: Ossian IN USA
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posted 01-20-2010 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A while back I read that the Canadians plan to send an astronaut to the ISS every 3 years. That would mean the next occasion would be in 2012. Currently, Spacefacts shows Chris Hadfield as backup to Joe Acaba for the Soyuz TMA-04M/Expedition 31/32 mission scheduled for launch in March 2012. I think it's highly likely he'll wind up being launched himself in 2012 on Soyuz TMA-06M or 07M for a 6-month stay, quite possibly as Commander of the station during the second half.

As for Thirsk, my guess that it's the combination of the time and effort it takes to be an expedition crewmember (not only the 6 months in orbit, but the 2 years of training around the globe, which I'm sure takes it's toll on families), and his age and the fact he's been an astronaut since 1983. There's not much he can do for an encore, and I didn't expect him to fly again with the new guys coming up through training.

I wonder if Julie Payette will want to fly an expedition. If she does, the next Canadian slot wouldn't be until 2015, and then there are Jeremy Hansen and David St. Jacques who will be available before then.

issman1
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posted 01-20-2010 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember TV footage of pre-launch preparations for Soyuz TMA-16 in which Chris Hadfield could be seen with the prime and back-up crews. But I presumed (wrongly) he was in management position at the Canadian Space Agency. So he may yet fly?

eurospace
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Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 01-21-2010 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
I remember TV footage of pre-launch preparations for Soyuz TMA-16 in which Chris Hadfield could be seen with the prime and back-up crews.
Hadfield served as backup for Thirsk on this mission. He is to fly probably in 2013.

issman1
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posted 01-21-2010 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was actually aware of Chris Hadfield's role as Bob Thirk's back-up for Soyuz TMA-15.

The point I was making was the TV footage of Hadfield was filmed either in Moscow or Baikonaur with the Soyuz TMA-16 prime and back-up crews.

As you know, Guy Laliberte was Canada's first space tourist launched on TMA-16 and the Canadian Space Agency embraced his flight (the first time an ISS partner space sgency has ever done for a space tourist).

Naturally, one might assume that Hadfield (who last flew in 2001) was no longer active. Especially when taking into account that Canada just selected two new astronauts and that no flights were officially scheduled by a Canadian after Julie Payette or Thirsk.

Delta7
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From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 01-21-2010 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it's pretty safe to assume that Hadfield will be the next Canadian to fly.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-24-2010 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
I wonder if Julie Payette will want to fly an expedition.
The Canadian Press: Payette says her space-travel career could be over
When asked if there were any plans for a return to space, Payette's response was: "Not according to the Canadian Space Agency."

"The Canadian Space Agency doesn't have any plans for me," she added in an interview with The Canadian Press.

quote:
Originally posted by Delta7:
I think it's pretty safe to assume that Hadfield will be the next Canadian to fly.
As noted under the Future space station crew assignments thread, Hadfield is set to join Expedition 33 and command Expedition 34 in 2012.

Delta7
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From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 06-24-2010 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After Hadfield's mission in 2012, the next Canadian slot won't be until 2015 (based on CSA's stated plan to fly a Canadian on an ISS expedition every three years). Either Jeremy Hansen or David St. Jacques will likely fly that increment. The other won't fly until 2018. Therefore, it's not surprising that Payette doesn't figure into those plans.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-24-2010 04:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to Roscosmos, the addition of an annual fifth Soyuz was instigated by a request made by the Canadian Space Agency.

Delta7
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From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 06-25-2010 08:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sort of confused. Does this simply ensure that Canada will have a Soyuz seat available every three years, or are they planning on more frequent visits? It seems all the fifth launch does is allow for a so-called "tourist" mission once a year.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-25-2010 08:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Canadian Space Agency's intentions as reported by Roscosmos are not clear but just as South Korea paid to fly Soyeon Yi and Malaysia paid to fly Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, CSA could pay to fly another of their crew members on a taxi flight.

FFrench
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From: San Diego
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posted 06-30-2010 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by music_space:
This marks very a exciting first... first space meeting of two Canadians.
Unless you count this.

alanh_7
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From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 06-30-2010 08:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is too bad if Payette does not get another spaceflight. She has done some outstanding work with the program.

Hadfield has been been involved with the Russian side of the program for some time, and did his stint as backup for Robert Thirsk. He deserves his flight in 2012.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 10-25-2010 07:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
I was a bit surprised by Canadian astronaut Bob Thirks's comments that he does not wish to fly another long-duration mission aboard ISS.
Canadian Press: Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk won't be returning to space again
Thirsk has decided that his six-month visit to the International Space Station last year was his last trip into space.

The 57-year-old astronaut, who was born in New Westminster, B.C., was one of the first six original Canadian astronauts selected in 1983.

Thirsk told The Canadian Press it is time to move over and make room for the country's two newest astronauts Jeremy Hansen and David (dah-veed') Saint-Jacques...

All times are CT (US)

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