Canadian astronauts to visit space station in 2009

Julie Payette and Bob Thirsk will be visiting the International Space Station next year, Industry Minister Jim Prentice announced Monday.

Two Canadian astronauts will be visiting the International Space Station next year.

Industry Minister Jim Prentice, the minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, says mission specialist Julie Payette will head to the space station aboard the shuttle Endeavour in April 2009.

It will be Payette's second mission in space; she was aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1999.

A month later, Bob Thirsk will travel to the space station and be the first Canadian to stay for an extended period, expected to be about six months.

Thirsk will make his trip aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule.

He was aboard the shuttle Columbia in 1996.