This morning a Canadian astronaut blasted off successfully in the Soyuz spacecraft from Khazahkstan (low res video here, high res video here) as part of a mission called Expedition 20/21. This expedition is a Canadian milestone, as it is the first time a Canadian has taken part in a long term space mission. That Canadian’s name is Dr. Robert Thirsk, and although most of his growing up was elsewhere, Dr. Thirsk was born here in New Westminster. He has been in space before, and is a highly respected member of Canada’s Space program. Here is Dr. Thirsk’s mission patch, designed by BC artist Bill Helin:
Which I personally think is AWESOME. There is a great long design rationale here. Dr. Thirsk (aka: Bob) has listed his musical tastes here, and his space menu is also posted online because us Canadians need to know not only what he’ll be humming along to while he conducts experiments and takes care of some maintenance at the International Space Station for six months, but what he’ll be consuming for that same duration.
I read the pre-launch interview with Bob, and I have to say that Bob Thirsk strikes me as the type of guy I’d love to sit down and have a beer and some nachos with. Check back to the Expedition 20/21’s page for updated content as the mission progresses.