Saskatoon

'He was very inspiring': Saskatoon kids talk to astronaut aboard International Space Station

Dozens of elementary school kids packed into Convocation Hall at the University of Saskatchewan to speak to Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques answered questions about life in space

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques speaks with students at a special question-and-answer session at the University of Saskatchewan. (David Shield/CBC)

You could feel the excitement across the room.

On Thursday morning, dozens of elementary school kids packed into Convocation Hall at the University of Saskatchewan to speak to Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Speaking over a live feed run by Mission Control in Houston, Texas, Saint-Jacques fielded questions from the students which covered everything from explaining what it's like to blast off in a rocket to how to go to sleep in space without bumping around the room.

"A rocket ride is an unbelievable moment," Saint-Jacques said. "They ignite the engines, and this thing comes alive, and it's as if two giant hands were carrying you all the way up to space."

Saint-Jacques flew to the ISS in December. While aboard the station, the medical doctor and astrophysicist will conduct experiments and test new technologies.

A student waits his turn to speak with Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques. (David Shield/CBC)

Needless to say, the kids in the room were pretty impressed.

"It was a very fascinating experience," said Louis Pascal, a Grade 6 student. "He was very inspiring."

The event was MCed by retired Saskatoon-born astronaut Dr. Dave Williams. He said events like these are important to foster a love of space exploration in children.

"The next generation of Canadian astronauts is out there somewhere," he said. "They might be seven years old, they might be 10 years old, they might be in university, and they're dreaming about becoming an astronaut."

The question-and-answer session was hosted by former astronaut Dr. Dave Williams. (David Shield/CBC)

Williams was on the Canadian Space Agency panel that selected Saint-Jacques. He said kids should never give up on their dreams.

"Go for it," he said. "Be resilient. Don't let others define your dream. Hold on to your passion."

The event kick-started this year's Spectrum at the University of Saskatchewan. Every three years, students at the university use the event to showcase research conducted in science and engineering.

This year, Spectrum features demonstrations by the university's space design team as well as the Saskatoon Combat Robotics Club.

Spectrum runs until Sunday.