Canadian Astronaut To Board ISS

David Saint-Jacques in the Soyuz simulator during a training session in Russia (image: Canadian Space Agency)

The International Space Station (ISS) is a spacecraft that orbits the Earth; it is part laboratory and part home for astronauts. And soon it will have a new resident. (*Note: See Dec. 3 update, below.)

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will make the journey to the ISS on December 3. The launch is set for 6:30 a.m. He will remain on the spacecraft for about six months.

It is his first mission as an astronaut. It is the 17th space flight for the Canadian Astronaut Corps, according to the Canadian Space Agency.

While he is on board the ISS, Saint-Jacques will conduct experiments and demonstrate technology.

Saint-Jacques is an engineer, astrophysicist and a family doctor. He has a pilot’s license and speaks five languages: French, English, Russian, Spanish and Japanese. He has a degree in engineering physics, a doctorate in astrophysics and a medical degree.

A Russian rocket will send Saint-Jacques into space. The astronaut travelled to Baikonur, Kazakhstan for the launch.

Another familiar Canadian astronaut will be helping Saint-Jacques. Canada’s Governor General, Julie Payette, is a former astronaut. Not only will she represent Canada (as its Governor General) but she will be Saint-Jacques’ Casualty Assistance Calls Officer, according to CBC News.

Saint-Jacques has been preparing for the mission to the ISS for nearly nine years. He is 48 years old and is married, with three children.

The Story Behind the Story: What it Takes to Be an Astronaut (Science, Space, Biography)

Related Links

*UPDATE, Dec. 3, 2018: Incredible video of the launch, including (at 2:33) a look at David Saint-Jacques, Anne C. McClain and Oleg Kononenko inside the capsule during the launch.  (NASA video via Global News — Note: This video may run one or two ads before it plays.)

The Canadian Space Agency has an extensive collection of information, dates and other material on David Saint-Jacques and his ISS mission:

CBC News provides this look at Saint-Jacques’ training.

What is the ISS? Information on the ISS on NASA’s website:

Saint-Jacques’ mission is known as Expedition 58-59 and you can find out more about it here:

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
While in space for six months, Saint-Jacques will be conducting science experiments and demonstrating technology. If you could ask him any question about his experiments or his journey in space, what would you ask him and why?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
The article explains that “Saint-Jacques has been preparing for the mission to the ISS for nearly nine years.” 9 years is a very long time! What do you think he has been doing for 9 years to prepare for this mission?

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Language Feature: Semicolon (;)
The first sentence of this article includes a semicolon: “The International Space Station (ISS) is a spacecraft that orbits the Earth; it is part laboratory and part home for astronauts.” A semicolon is used to join two sentences together instead of separating them with a period. Why do you think the journalist chose to use a semicolon in this sentence instead of separating it into two sentences?