David Saint-Jacques will be the next Canadian astronaut in space
Will blast off on a Soyuz rocket in 2018 for a 6-month mission on the ISS
One of Canada's two newest astronauts finally has a confirmed ticket to space.
David Saint-Jacques, who is originally from Quebec City, has been booked on a Russian Soyuz rocket that blasts off for the International Space Station in November 2018.
The announcement was made in Ottawa on Monday by Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development, and minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency.
Saint-Jacques, 46, will take part in a six-month mission at the space station, becoming the ninth Canadian astronaut in space. It's the 17th Canadian space mission and the third "long-duration" mission.
Saint-Jacques, along with 40-year-old Jeremy Hansen of London, Ont., were named Canada's newest astronauts in 2009. Both have been training ever since, but neither has left Earth so far.
Saint-Jacques, who has degrees in medicine, engineering and astrophysics, said he was humbled to represent all Canadians on the mission.
Study of microgravity on the body
"The doctor in me is eager to conduct experiments and experience first-hand the effects of microgravity on my body, the engineer in me is eager to operate Canadarm2, the astrophysicist in me is eager to look at the stars while floating in my space suit, and of course, the adventurer in me, he's just eager," he said at the announcement.
Saint-Jacques thanked previous Canadian astronauts for their inspiration and mentorship and gave a special thanks to Hansen.
"We've been training together for seven years, helping each other every step along the way," he said. "Today, I'm the lucky one to be picked, but I know very well that it could be him and I can't wait for him to get his mission next."
Saint-Jacques said he was first inspired to become an astronaut after seeing a photo of the Earth from space when he was a boy. When he asked his father where it was taken from, his father told him it had been taken by an astronaut on the moon.
"I look forward to living and working on board the space station and seeing the world from space just like in that photo when I was a child," he said.
Today's announcement pushes up the next Canadian astronaut mission by a year. The previous Conservative government announced last year that one of them would be heading to space in 2019 and 2024, but did not disclose who would go first. At that time, Canada also renewed its commitment to participation in the International Space Station until 2024.
The last astronaut to fly in space was Chris Hadfield, who became the first Canadian commander of the space station during a five-month visit in 2013.
- A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Navdeep Bains was the minister responsible for the International Space Station. In fact, he is the minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency.May 16, 2016 2:32 PM ET