Quebec engineer and doctor David Saint-Jacques will be the next Canadian to work in space aboard the International Space Station.
Saint-Jacques, 46, is scheduled to travel to space aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket for a six-month mission in November 2018.
“I promise to live up to your expectations,” Saint-Jacques told a group of schoolchildren gathered Monday at an Ottawa museum, where Minister of Science and Innovation Navdeep Bains announced his assignment.
“A mission like this makes Canada much bigger.”
Training for Saint-Jacques, who is a medical, engineering and astrophysics specialist, begins this summer in Canada, Russia, Japan and the United States.
Saint-Jacques says he was inspired to be an astronaut by the many Canadians who preceded him.
He’ll become the ninth Canadian to travel to space, six of whom worked at the International Space Station. In all, Canadians have made 16 space flights to date.
“These men and women have captured our imagination, motivated us to work and study harder, and inspired us to be our best,” said Bains.
Chris Hadfield, who was commander of the International Space Station in 2013, was the most recent Canadian in space.
Last year, the federal government announced that two Canadian astronauts would be going to the space station by 2024 — one by 2019 and one by 2024 — but didn’t specify who would be next.
Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen are only two active members of the Canadian Astronaut Corps.
(The Canadian Press)