Canadian Astronaut Returns to Earth

At 22:47 EDT on 24 June, David
Saint – Jacques touched down in
Kazakhstan alongside NASA astronaut
Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut
Oleg Kononenko. For Saint-Jacques,
it was the conclusion of along
deployment, having first left Earth
for the International Space Station
(ISS) on 3 December of 2018. His
stay in the ISS for 204 days marks
a new record for the Canadian Space
Agency (CSA) as the longest single
spaceflight by a Canadian.

The mission marks a series of
landmark moments for the CSA.
Saint-Jacques was the fourth CSA
astronaut to partake in a spacewalk
and the first in 12 years, working
alongside McClain for more than
six hours outside the station in early
April . He became the first CSA
astronaut to utilize the Canadarm2
to perform a “cosmic catch ” , i n
this case capturing a Dragon cargo
vehicle on 6 May 2019. He and the
crew aboard the ISS during their stay
were involved with maintenance of
many aspects of the station including
the oxygen generation system and
a CO2 scrubbing system. They also
monitored the arrival and docking of
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon on its first
test flight.

During his stay, he participated
in a variety of scientific activities,
including 9 Canadian health science
activities. 7 of these were various
experiments, from studies on the
effects of microgravity on bone
marrow to research into spatial
orientation aboard the station and
even psychological examinations
pertaining to the long-duration missions
missions. He also commissioned 2
Canadian health science technology
demonstrators: a smart shirt that
monitors and records astronauts’
vital signs and a real-time analyzer
of blood, urine, and saliva that will
provide data for research purposes.

As the only Canadian astronaut
deployed during this time period,
Saint-Jaques also took part in
numerous public outreach events. He
made an appearance during the CSA’s
official announcement regarding its
participation alongside NASA’s return
to the moon. He communicated with
students from across Canada and
around the world, through the Amateur
Radio on the ISS program. He also
participated in the ISS Experience,
a VR film in which the daily life
aboard the station is captured by the
astronauts with a 360 degree camera.

Saint-Jaques will be facing
many challenges as he adapts to
life back on Earth, something that
he has already discussed during an
interview in his last week aboard the
ISS. Blood circulation problems, an
elongated spine, and muscle pains
are all issues that he may have to
face. As of recently, Saint-Jacques
has mentioned he isn’t feeling any
pain, though his sense of balance is
still not quite back. The CSA has
made it very clear that their focus
now is his rehabilitation and physical

With Saint-Jacques back on the
Earth, no CSA astronaut is currently
deployed on a mission to the ISS or
even assigned to an upcoming one.
However, the CSA has mentioned
that they are already in negotiations
to have another Canadian astronaut
serve aboard the ISS prior to 2024.