1984: Marc Garneau chosen as Canada's first astronaut
His bravery is inspiring, his grace is charming and his credentials are out of this world. In 1984 Marc Garneau became the first Canadian to fly on a NASA mission to space. During his 15 years as an astronaut, Garneau flew three times and made countless contributions to the Canadian space program, eventually becoming its president. On the ground or in the air, Garneau has been a passionate educator and trailblazer for space exploration.
• He received a PhD in electrical engineering from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London and then went into the navy, where he served 10 years as a combat systems engineer.
• NASA invited Canada to partake in its manned missions as a gesture of appreciation for the Canadian-made mechanical space arm called the Canadarm. The Canadarm is a robotic reaching arm attached to the space shuttle. It is used to manipulate satellites and other hardware from within the shuttle.
• Canada donated the Canadarm to NASA, as part of the space shuttle program. It was an expensive gift -- at approximately $100 million Cdn. But NASA later ordered and paid for four additional units. Canada has since become renowned for its expertise in robotics. For more on the Canadarm, please visit our topic Canadarm - A Technology Star.
• Garneau was the second non-American to go into space on a NASA flight. The first was Ulf Merbold, from Germany, who flew in 1983. Selected only seven months before flying, Garneau had the shortest training period in NASA's history. He arrived in Houston two months before the flight and was trained only in the essentials - preparing food, using the bathroom, communicating, and knowing how to handle emergencies.
• Garneau had a cluster of space experiments to complete for Canada. The experiments focused on the body's response to outer space, ranging from the sensitivity of nerve endings to the nature of motion sickness. For eight days the seven astronauts orbited the earth once every 90 minutes, a total of 133 times, at a speed of 27,000 km/h. The distance covered was more than 5.3 million kilometres.
• In 1989 Garneau was named deputy director of the Canadian Astronaut Program. In this position he would provide technical and program support for the preparation of space experiments on future Canadian missions.
• In 2001 he became president of the Canadian Space Agency. He stepped down from his position to run for the Liberals in the 2006 federal election. Although he was touted as a "star candidate," he lost. He did win a seat for Westmount-Ville-Marie in 2008 and held the seat in the 2011 election.
For more on the career of Marc Garneau, please visit our topic Marc Garneau: Canadian Space Pioneer
Also on March 14:
• 1868: Emily Murphy is born in Cookstown, Ont. Murphy was one of the "Famous Five" who led the battle to have women declared legal "persons" under the British North America Act. In 1929 their victory before the British Privy Council allowed women to be appointed senators. Murphy died in Edmonton in 1933.
• 1957: The Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is born, forever changing how Canadians save for retirement. Finance Minister Walter Harris announces the program during his delivery of the federal budget speech in the House of Commons. This new investment account allows users a tax shelter for such financial properties as mutual funds, stocks, bonds and mortgage loans.
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: March 14, 1984
Guest: Marc Garneau
Host: Barbara Frum, Keith Morrison
Last updated: November 3, 2014
Page consulted on November 3, 2014
All Clips from this Topic
Four thousand applied. One will be chosen.
The day has finally arrived. With his family and friends gathered, Gar...
Between giggling, making jokes and doing somersaults, the astronauts g...
Garneau discusses his space mission during the Grey Cup halftime show ...
What was it like? Garneau connects with some inquiring Canadian minds ...
Marc Garneau talks with the CBC while six candidates wait to find out ...
In 1986, manned space travel suffers a tragic blow with the Challenger...
Garneau offers lots of encouraging advice to would-be astronauts at th...
Marc Garneau talks with Bruce Steele about eating food in space.
Twelve years after his first flight, Garneau is aloft again.
Marc Garneau and the crew of the Endeavour successfully pull off an ex...
Garneau gears up to help build the International Space Station.
A busy mission for Marc Garneau includes adding solar wings for the sp...
A Canadian-led space mission could put the maple leaf on Mars.
The first Canadian to travel in space reflects back on his trip.
How does it feel to be picked to be Canada's first astronaut? Marc Gar...
His bravery is inspiring, his grace is charming and his credentials ar...