Technology & Science

Roberta Bondar named Companion to the Order of Canada

Roberta Bondar, who was Canada's second astronaut in space, was honoured for her work in science as well as her commitment to environmental sustainability.

Bondar, the 1st Canadian woman in space, is active in promoting environmental protection through art

Roberta Bondar, a neurologist, the first Canadian woman in space as well as an environmental advocate, was invested as Companion of the Order of Canada by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette — also a former astronaut — during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Thursday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman to go into space, has been promoted to a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Bondar received the honour at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Thursday. Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, a former astronaut herself, presented her with the Order.

"A world-acclaimed photographer, she has demonstrated commitment to environmental sustainability through her stunning works that reconnect people to our natural world," the announcement read in part.

"Leading by example with the establishment of her eponymous foundation, she is a champion of education and the environment."

On Jan. 22, 1992, Bondar launched on the space shuttle Discovery, spending eight days in space.

Bondar, who is a neurologist, participated in the first International Microgravity Laboratory mission which studied the effects of microgravity on blood flow in the human brain, as well as how humans orient themselves in space.

Returning to Earth, Bondar retired from the Canadian Space Agency and studied nature photography, eventually publishing a book on her trip to space.

Watch as Bondar blasts off: 

In 2009, she created The Roberta Bondar Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that aims to connect people with nature and the importance of environmental protection through art.

In 2018, the Thebacha and Wood Buffalo Astronomical Society named an observatory in her honour for her efforts in helping to establish the world's largest dark-sky preserve in Wood Buffalo National Park.

Bondar was first made a member of the Order of Canada in 1992.

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