Photo: Fred Chartrand, The canadian Press
The Québec David Saint-Jacques
The year 2018 will be more busy than usual for the canadian space Agency. After an absence of five years, a canadian astronaut will be finally back in orbit when the Quebec David Saint-Jacques will fly to the international space Station (ISS) in November.
No Canadian has stayed aboard the ISS since 2013, when Chris Hadfield has completed a mission of nearly five months. Mr. Saint-Jacques, who is both an engineer and medical doctor, will blast off aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule.
The 47-year-old will become the ninth Canadian to travel in space. It will be accompanied by a u.s. astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut.
Mr. Saint-Jacques, who will also be co-pilot of the capsule-Russian, explained that he spent a lot of time to prepare for takeoff. “It should be ready on the shooting range, to launch this rocket and to know all what you need to know, so that is why the training takes several years,” he said during a recent interview with The canadian Press.
Mr. Saint-Jacques will also have to deal with the psychological workload that will accompany its remoteness not only of the planet, but also his wife and their three young children aged six years, four years and one year. “It’s a huge challenge to find balance between personal life, married life and professional life — for everything to work together,” said the astronaut.
The president of the space agency, Sylvain Laporte, confirmed that Mr. Saint-Jacques has been training intensely for his six-month tour. “David told me that in the last 18 months, it was very demanding for him to learn everything he needs to know and be ready for his mission “, he said.
Mr. Laporte added that the lack of canadian in orbit since Mr. Hadfield had nothing to worry about. He pointed out that the number of flights of canadian astronauts depends on the country’s contribution to the ISS. “We respect the schedule based on our contributions, so this [five-year absence] did nothing wrong,” assured Mr. Laporte.
He indicated that discussions were continuing with the us space agency, NASA, to organize a flight for canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen. “If nothing changes, it will take another five years,” he warned.
M. Laporte pointed out, however, that Mr. Hansen could fly faster aboard one of the vessels business, which are currently being developed by american companies.
The two new canadian astronauts, Joshua Kutryk and Jennifer Sidey, will continue their training base in Houston and will have to wait their turn.
Other planned events
Several other important events are on the agenda of the canadian space Agency in 2018.
Three satellites for Earth observation — the RADARSAT Constellation, will be placed in orbit, to the end of the summer. The cost of the mission is increased from 600 million to over a billion dollars.
These satellites monitor maritime traffic and the Arctic, especially in the northwest passage becoming increasingly busy, where luxury cruises are now offered.
“We must now ensure that passengers will not be endangered and we will be in a better position if emergency operations are necessary,” said Mr. Laporte.
Norman Hannaford, of the firm’s aerospace MacDonald, Dettwiler and associates, explained that the purpose of the mission is to monitor the North ” to understand what ships are in canadian waters, and what they do there “.
The satellites will use radar to locate ships and identify vessels using an automatic identification system (AIS).
“But, more importantly, we will be able to identify these targets” dark “, vessels that do not emit SIA as they should do, ” said Mr. Hannaford.
The attention of Canada will also look to the probe, OSIRIS-REx in the next few months. This sensor must reach Bennu, an asteroid that is near Earth, in 2018, with Canada’s help. It will take samples that it will return to Earth in 2023. The instrument canadian is a device in the laser that will map the asteroid in 3D to determine where the samples are to be taken.
In exchange, Canada will be entitled to 4 % of which will be reported.
“This is one of the oldest asteroids in our galaxy, so it is very interesting to study because we could find things that were present at the beginning of our solar system, and that can’t be found perhaps nowhere else “, according to Mr. Laporte.
It is also in 2018 that will begin construction of a new shooting range near Canso, on the eastern coast of Nova Scotia. This small fishing village could accommodate the single port canadian space active throughout the year.
The company Sea Launch Services intends to launch a rocket Ukrainian of medium size, the Cyclone 4M.
President Stephen Matier specifies that the facilities will count to three components : the shooting range near the water, the place where the rocket and the payloads will be integrated, and the control center.