Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency

January 19, 2010 14:41 ET

Canadian Astronaut Robert Thirsk Returns Home

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Jan. 19, 2010) - Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Astronaut Robert Thirsk set foot in Canada today for the first time, after successfully completing a six-month mission onboard the International Space Station. Steve MacLean, CSA President, along with Thirsk's colleagues and a Beaconsfield high school class, welcomed him back during an event held at the CSA headquarters in Longueuil, Quebec.

"I am proud and privileged to be part of this historic moment when a prominent figure of the Canadian Space Program returns home after such a remarkable achievement. With modern explorers like Thirsk, we are proving to the world that Canada has a place amongst the leaders in human space exploration, science and technology," said Steve MacLean. "Canadians and our Canadian space industry will without a doubt, benefit from this unique and record-breaking experience."

While answering a question from a grade nine student, astronaut Robert Thirsk declared: "This long term mission was my dream since I was a little boy. Stay in school, get an education and one day you will be living your dreams too."

Robert Thirsk accomplished many "firsts" during this mission, namely becoming the first Canadian to fly onboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft which launched on May 27, 2009 and landed on December 1, 2009 in the plains of Kazakhstan. He is also the first Canadian to stay in space for such an extended period and still holds the Canadian record for the longest spaceflight, totaling more than 125 million kilometers over his six-month stay (188 days). He orbited the Earth more than 2,900 times, spent more than 230 hours exercising and conducted about 236 hours of scientific research.

For details on the mission, visit the CSA website at www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/missions/expedition20-21/

Video, animations and pictures are available at this address:
ftp://ftp.asc-csa.gc.ca/users/expedition20-21/pub/

ftp://ftp.asc-csa.gc.ca/users/communication/1_SEMAINE/100119_expedition20/

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