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Marc Garneau chosen as first Canadian 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.

Over four thousand Canadians applied. Among the twenty finalists is an ambitious 35-year-old naval officer and electrical engineer named Marc Garneau, from Quebec. The final six, all of whom will join the Canadian Space Program, are announced today. But only one astronaut will become the first Canadian in space. Keenly aware of the magnitude of this opportunity, Garneau shines in his first press interview, telling Canada how eager he is to represent the country.

The six finalists are highly educated, impressively athletic and always well-spoken. They are scrutinized for grace under pressure, social skills and credentials. The panel from the National Research Council is not only looking for technical ability, it needs space-hero potential and someone who can effectively communicate the wonders of space. Marc Garneau fits the profile to a T.
• Marc Garneau was born on Feb. 23, 1949 in Quebec City where he spent most of his childhood. He has one older brother and two younger brothers.
• He received a PhD in electrical engineering from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London and then went to the navy, where he served ten years as a combat systems engineer.

• The literal translation of the word "astronaut" is "sailor among the stars."
• In 1969 and 1970, Garneau sailed across the Atlantic in a 59-foot, two-mast sailboat with 12 other crewmen. Of the adventure Garneau said, "It was the very best naval experience possible."
• Among the chosen six were 10 PhDs, two medical doctors, two engineers and three pilots. There was a national gymnast, a karate champion...and one naval officer.
Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: Dec. 5, 1983
Guest(s): Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Madeleine Hinchey, Don Johnston, Steve Maclean, Ken Money, Robert Thirsk, Bjarni Tryggvason
Reporter: Keith Morrison
Duration: 7:58

Last updated: November 27, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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