Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques successfully lifts off for first space mission

News release

He becomes the ninth Canadian Space Agency astronaut to fly to space.

Longueuil, Quebec, December 3, 2018 – Today, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut David Saint-Jacques successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS) with crewmates, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.

The Expedition 58 crew took off aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:31 a.m. ET (5:31 p.m. local time in Kazakhstan). Saint-Jacques will spend over six months aboard the orbiting laboratory, supporting world-class science and time-critical operations. With a scheduled landing in June 2019, this will be Canada's longest mission to date.

While in space, Saint-Jacques will operate Canadarm2 and perform maintenance duties. He will conduct science experiments and technology demonstrations, including ground-breaking Canadian health science experiments that will make space travel safer for humans. This work is also helping us better understand the human body on Earth. He could also perform a spacewalk.

This mission begins on the cusp of the 20th anniversary of the ISS—twenty years of peaceful international collaboration and breakthrough science in service of life on Earth, in the largest and most complex engineering project in human history.


"Space inspires humanity to greater heights, and rising to the challenge of space pushes the limits of what is possible. Canadian astronauts like David are modern-day explorers and role models. I look forward to following David's mission as he showcases Canadian robots, conducts ground-breaking science, tests new technologies and most of all, inspires young Canadians to reach for the stars."

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

"This is a historic day for Canada: one of our own scientists is launching into space, and I could not be more proud. I'm especially excited for the young Canadians today who are watching David and imagining themselves working on the International Space Station one day. It's all possible with a career in science!"

- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

"Today, more than ever, I am mindful that space is more than astronauts and more than one mission. I am grateful for the thousands of men and women who work behind the scenes, in Canada and all over the world, putting all their talent to work to make space flight possible. After years of preparation, I am ready to play my part and represent Canada on the International Space Station, where we are learning how to live and work in space so that we can continue to push the limits, explore further and expand our perspective. I hope that through this mission, the Canadian Space Agency and I can spark curiosity and interest in young Canadians and inspire them to be the next generation of explorers."

- David Saint-Jacques, Canadian Space Agency astronaut

Quick facts

  • Canada has flown eight astronauts on 16 space missions.

  • Budget 2016 provided $379 million for Canada's continued participation in the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS partnership has been ongoing since 1986, and Canada is now committed to the ISS through to 2024.

  • On May 16, 2016, Minister Bains announced that David Saint-Jacques would be the next Canadian in space.

  • An engineer, astrophysicist and medical doctor, David Saint-Jacques brings a broad set of skills to the ISS. He is fully trained as Soyuz co-pilot, robotic operator and spacewalker. David is ready to provide critical capabilities to help guarantee the continuity of world-class science and time-critical operations on the Space Station.

  • David Saint-Jacques has done years of training to be ready for a space mission. Since his assignment to the crew of Expedition 58, he has taken customized training on the ISS and its various modules, the Soyuz spacecraft, Canadian and international science, and a variety of mission-specific tasks. His training has taken him to Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States.

  • To engage young Canadians in science and related disciplines, the CSA will deliver a wide range of activities during David's mission, many in collaboration with partners:

    • Living Space: A new youth science research project where students explore how environmental conditions can affect physical and mental health while practising analytical thinking and learning digital skills like coding.
    • Little Inventors – Inventions for Space: A creative challenge for children across the country to come up with ideas to make life in space easier and more fun. The top inventions will be turned into prototypes by expert makers and artisans. Two will even make an appearance in space!
    • Astro Pi Challenge: A European science and coding competition where students are invited to develop code that could be run on the Space Station's unique Raspberry Pi computers. Two different complexity levels make Astro Pi accessible to students with or without coding experience.
    • Wanted: Creative Writers: Canadians aged 9 and over are invited to write and submit a space-themed story for children aged 3 to 8. All stories must be original and must not have been previously published. 
  • Commercial crew vehicles are planned to be test flown for the first time and docked to the Station during this mission. This historical milestone will herald a new era in human space flight.

  • As we look beyond the ISS, nations from around the world are focusing on a return to the Moon as a stepping stone to deeper exploration. Canada is preparing for potential roles in the lunar gateway and advancing technologies in areas of strength for Canada, like robotics.

Associated links


Canadian Space Agency
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