Major Mike McKay (CAF), with degrees in engineering physics, electrical and computer engineering and business administration, was selected for astronaut training in 1992. He became a valued spaceship payload specialist, but had to leave for health reasons in 1995. In 997 he returned to active military service in the Directorate of Space Development.
Major Jeremy Hansen, a CF-18 fighter pilot with degrees in Space Science and Physics, joined the CSP in 2009. After two years of intensive astronaut training he was assigned to the ISS Operations Branch. Currently, crew support for Hadfield’s expedition, Jeremy qualifies for long-duration ISS missions, and awaits assignment.
Dafydd Williams, physician, surgeon and emergency medicine specialist, logged 690 hours in space on the Columbia and Endeavour, and was the first non-American to hold a senior management position with NASA. Williams worked in the world’s only underwater research lab and was the first of three Canadians (Williams, Thirsk and Hadfield) to become both an astronaut and an aquanaut. He retired in 2008.
David Saint-Jacques, physician and engineer with a PhD in astrophysics, selected by the CSA in 2009, has not yet been to space but is eminently qualified. He was recently part of a team in Aquarius, the underwater facility in which the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) conducted its first undersea mission that simulates a visit to an asteroid. Prior to that, Dr. Saint-Jacques was the first Canadian participant in the European Space Agency’s CAVES. An international team spent 13 days in an extensive, dark, underground labyrinth of unexplored caves, wearing helmets and headlamps to map the terrain, while carrying supplies and equipment.
Nova Scotians will continue to benefit from astronauts’ journeys to space. In 2011, NS and the CSA designed an innovative Canadian partnership for development of school curriculum and resources. You may recall that the federally endorsed agreement was personally supported by Astronaut Thirsk whose subsequent visit to Southdale-North Woodside School was an inspiration to everyone to discover a personal joy in the study of science.
Jacqueline Warlow, a retired educator, lives in Dartmouth. Mother of three and grandmother of six, she is a freelance writer and a “People With Tales” storyteller.