Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency

July 17, 2009 17:22 ET

Canada Marks Space Milestone as Two Canadians Meet in Space for the First Time

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - July 17, 2009) - Today, space shuttle Endeavour docked to the International Space Station (ISS) at 1:47 p.m. EDT, as they floated in tandem about 400 km above Earth. About two hours later at 3:48 p.m. EDT, the hatch between the two spacecrafts was opened and the first six permanent ISS residents welcomed aboard the crew of mission STS-127. Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk, who launched to the Station on May 27th aboard a Soyuz rocket, greeted fellow Canadian astronaut Julie Payette to his orbital home.

"Twenty-five years ago, the first Canadian flew into space and today, Canada continues to be a leader in space exploration," said the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). "Having two Canadian astronauts in space at the same time is truly a Canadian space milestone."

"We are entering a new era in space exploration and all Canadians are proud," said Steve MacLean, President of the Canadian Space Agency. "All across our nation, young Canadians are looking to our astronauts working together on the International Space Station, and seeing that if they work and study hard, they too, like the two new astronaut recruits, may one day, reach for their dreams."

Canadian astronauts have a proud record of space flight. Julie Payette is participating in the 15th space mission for a Canadian over the past 16 years, seven of these missions being to the International Space Station.

During the docking, from the spacecraft's cockpit, Payette assisted Commander Mark Polansky and pilot Douglas Hurley in the delicate manoeuvres required to dock space shuttle Endeavour to the ISS.

Space shuttle Endeavour will remain docked to the ISS until July 31. During this time, the crew will install a platform onto the Japanese Laboratory Kibo, swap batteries, load other cargo, and perform five spacewalks. Payette will be at the controls of Canadarm, Canadarm2 and the Japanese robotic arm supporting this intensely robotic assembly mission.

On July 19, Canadian astronauts Robert Thirsk and Julie Payette will take part in a live downlink with Canada. For details on the mission, visit our website at: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/missions/sts-127/default.asp.

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