Canadian Air & Space Museum

Canadian Air & Space Museum

July 20, 2009 10:44 ET


Three Canadian and two American astronauts honour Canadian aerospace legends on 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 lunar landing

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, Science Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 20, 2009) - TORONTO, July 20, 2009 - Today, the Canadian Air & Space Museum celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing, highlighting Canada's contributions to space and heralding three Canadian aerospace pioneers. Former Canadian astronauts Dr. Roberta Bondar and Bjarni Tryggvason joined enthusiasts and members of the industry, while Bob Thirsk, orbiting aboard the International Space Station, sent his own message of congratulations. Messages were also delivered to the museum by two of the Apollo moonwalkers: Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11) and David Scott (Apollo 15).

"Most people are familiar with the Apollo 11 mission, when man first stepped on the moon back on July 20, 1969, but they don't know of the instrumental role that Canadians have played," said Wayne Barrett, Chairman, Canadian Air & Space Museum. "Many are unaware that 33 Canadian engineers headed to NASA following the Avro Arrow cancellation in 1959. These people played pivotal roles in the technology breakthroughs that made safe manned spaceflight possible."

Honouring Air and Space Pioneers
At today's event, three aerospace pioneers, who all worked on the famed Avro Arrow supersonic interceptor, were recognized for their distinguished accomplishments, by receiving inaugural Canadian Air & Space Pioneer Awards:

* Owen Maynard - an engineer who joined NASA following the Avro Arrow cancellation to work on the design of the lunar module and became Chief of the Systems Engineering Division on the Apollo program.
* John Hodge - an engineer who joined NASA's Space Task Group following the Avro Arrow cancellation and became one of only four Mission Control Team Leaders at NASA. He was the Lead Flight Director on the troubled Gemini 8 mission and also served as a Flight Director on the Mercury and Apollo space programs.
* Jim Floyd - best recognized for his role as VP of Engineering at Avro Canada, where he designed and developed the Avro Jetliner, the CF-100 Jet fighter and the Avro Arrow. Floyd, now 95, also participated in an "Avro Arrow to the Moon" panel discussion at the event.

"I want to offer my congratulations to this year's Canadian Air & Space Pioneer Award winners," wrote former American astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a message. "John Hodge and Owen Maynard were both important parts of the remarkable team that helped to make the voyage of Apollo 11 a resounding success."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent an official note of congratulations to Jim Floyd.

Remembering Apollo 11
Former Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean, now President of the Canadian Space Agency, recalls watching the Apollo 11 launch as a 14-year-old youth and reflected on that key moment in history.

"I remember thinking it would be a lot of fun being part of a team that did that kind thing, but deep down, I didn't think a Canadian kid would ever have a chance," said MacLean. "So I didn't even dream about it."
"Steve MacLean's comment is a perfect example of why it's so important for us to succeed in building a pre-eminent museum that inspires Canadian youth," said Barrett. "Like all Canadians, they need to know what we have already accomplished and understand that those kinds of dreams can come true."

"I think most Canadians are astonished to learn of Canada's accomplishments in space. That's why we are working so hard to build a museum that tells the comprehensive stories of the Canadian aerospace industry and honours the people and companies behind them," added Barrett.

Astronauts Roberta Bondar and Bjarni Tryggvason joined representatives from the aerospace industry to recognize industry pioneers, celebrate Canadian accomplishments, and to demonstrate that the same level of commitment to excellence, innovation and global leadership continues today. The Canadian aerospace industry employs 83,000 people across Canada and generates $23.6 billion for the Canadian economy.

"The people we are celebrating today, and the investments and innovations made 40 and 50 years ago, clearly show what we can accomplish," said Dr. Roberta Bondar, one of Canada's six original astronauts. "Today, we continue to innovate and hopefully are awakening the passions of new generations to dream about what might be possible, planting the seeds for tomorrow's leaders and innovators."

Many key industry leaders, including the Ontario Aerospace Council, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, Bombardier Aerospace, Goodrich Landing Gear, Neptec Design Group,Vector Aerospace, Viking Air, MDA, AirSprint, Messier-Dowty, Field Aviation, Arnprior Aerospace, CMC Electronics, Honeywell Aerospace, L-3 Communications, Héroux-Devtek, TDM Technical Services, Vac Aero International, and Aerospace North Bay, as well as the City of Toronto, were present to demonstrate their support. They recognize the importance of creating a museum that showcases Canada's achievements in the aerospace and space Industries in an interactive way, to capture the minds and imagination of future generations.

Museum announces new partnership
Barrett announced a newly formed partnership between the Canadian Air & Space Museum and GSMprjct of Montreal, a world-renowned exhibit design group, to work with the museum's industry partners to create exciting, interactive exhibits that showcase their achievements and look to the future.

"The Canadian aerospace industry has always punched well above its weight and currently ranks 4th in the world," said Rod Jones, Executive Director, Ontario Aerospace Council. "But our achievements and our success stories are not well known by Canadians. The Canadian Air & Space Museum is beginning to transform itself into a world-class enterprise that will help our industry tell these stories, so Canadians and international visitors can learn and experience the Canadian innovations that have made and will make air travel ever safer, more reliable, more economical and environmentally friendly."

"Canada's 83,000 aerospace employees are tremendously proud of the aircraft, engines, spacecraft and all the advanced technology products we create, manufacture and deliver around the world. The new Canadian Air & Space Museum will help us share that pride with all Canadians and continue to build towards an even more successful future," added Jones.

Jones said most people aren't aware of the role that Canada's aerospace companies play in people's daily lives, noting some simple examples:

* When you breathe warm, clean air at 35,000 feet in most commercial aircraft, you are doing so courtesy of the Canadian engineers at Honeywell Aerospace, who designed and built the environmental control systems.
* When people make a cell phone call, send a fax, or access the Internet from a jet, they may have used an onboard communications system from EMS Technologies of Ottawa that connects to a communications satellite using switching systems designed and built in Canada by COMDEV to route the transmission back to Earth
* Four out of 10 times the landing gear on the plane you're in has been designed and built by Canadians.

100th Anniversary of Powered Flight in Canada
To recognize the centennial of powered flight in Canada, the replica of the Silver Dart was on display at the event. The Canadian Air & Space Museum announced it would display the Silver Dart replica at its facilities for an extended period starting in the spring 2010. The Silver Dart replica recreated Canada's first powered flight in Baddeck, Nova Scotia back in February 2009.

"I'm always struck by how many people have a passion for aviation and space and how it brings people together," said Bjarni Tryggvason, former Canadian astronaut and pilot of the Silver Dart replica. "At the age of six, I was introduced to the concept of flight by a crayon drawing of an airplane that my 12-year-old cousin drew. Until that point, I didn't know what an airplane was. But once I was introduced, something ignited in me and I somehow knew that flight would be a part of my future. Crayon drawings won't do much to inspire kids these days. That's why I'm pleased to hear that the Canadian Air & Space Museum is working to build a museum with interactive displays that can not only make kids realize what others have achieved, but give them hope for what they can achieve."

Celebrations closed with the premiere of a video message of encouragement and support regarding the museum's $30 million revitalization and expansion project, from actor Harrison Ford, an avid pilot and proud owner of a de Havilland of Canada DHC-2 Beaver (the world's first successful short takeoff & landing airplane). The museum noted that discussions are underway regarding Ford's video in connection with the upcoming release of the film "Amelia" on October 23, 2009. Amelia Earhart developed her desire to fly and her love of airplanes in Toronto, Canada, during World War I, when she volunteered to work with the Red Cross and attended to wounded pilots.

An "Avro Arrow to the Moon" panel discussion was held featuring speakers Jim Floyd, Bjarni Tryggvason, Chris Gainor (author of Arrow to the Moon), Ross Maynard (son of Owen Maynard) and Dr. Roberta Bondar.

About the Canadian Air & Space Museum.
The new Canadian Air & Space Museum is embarking on an ambitious re-vitalization and expansion campaign to realize its vision - telling the distinctly Canadian stories of aerospace and airline history and innovation, and recounting the stories of people and organizations connected with these innovations. The museum will create highly interactive, experiential exhibits to showcase Canadian innovations and achievements, linking the 'past - present - future'. At the expansion campaign's conclusion, the museum will be approximately four times its current size.

Currently, the museum contains notable artifacts and aircraft, showcasing the development of aerospace and space innovations in Canada, including a full-scale, museum-quality replica of the magnificent Avro Arrow. For information on tickets, directions, donations and museum hours, call 416-638-6078 or visit .


For more information, please contact:
Hugh Black
HMB Communications for the Canadian Air & Space Museum
Cell: 416-898-4871 / Bus: 905-338-1590

Contact Information

  • Hugh Black, Principal, HMB Communications Group
    Primary Phone: 905-338-1590
    Secondary Phone: 416-898-4871