Memories from space: Roberta Bondar marks 25th anniversary of Discovery shuttle mission
Canada’s first female astronaut remembers her time with Canadian Space Agency
It's been 25 years since Roberta Bondar, Canada's first female astronaut, launched into space aboard the shuttle Discovery.
After blasting off on Jan. 22, 1992, Bondar spent eight days orbiting Earth as a member of Mission STS-42.
She was the first neurologist to travel to space and conducted experiments in the shuttle's Spacelab module as part of her mission.
Since her time in space, Bondar served as NASA's head of space medicine and started her own charitable foundation. She is also an accomplished photographer.
On the 25th anniversary of her time on Discovery, Bondar reflected on how that mission changed her life in an interview with the CBC's Peter Mansbridge.
Big risk for big reward
As a young astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency, Bondar saw first-hand how exciting spaceflight could be. In 1984, she watched her colleague at the time, Marc Garneau, become the first Canadian in space aboard the shuttle Challenger.
But just two years later, while she was in training, she witnessed the disaster that took the lives of seven people aboard that same vehicle. The loss of the Challenger changed everything for Bondar — from her training to her outlook on space exploration.
Missions to Mars
The huge push in recent years to travel to and colonize Mars is an exciting thought for any astronaut.
But Bondar says that we don't know enough about long-term space travel or how it might affect the human body. She thinks getting back to the moon and setting up labs there would be a helpful start.
Memories of space
Bondar says she thinks about her time in space every day and that the experience still affects her life.
But some of her most meaningful memories come from when she flew over Canada. Bondar says she remembers "feeling a little bit melancholy" after losing the view over Newfoundland and Labrador because she knew she was "leaving Canada behind."