On April 19, 2001, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield became the first Canadian to walk in space. He and his crew mates aboard the space shuttle Endeavour delivered and installed the second generation of the Canadarm on the International Space Station (ISS).
Canadian Astronauts and the ISS
Chris Hadfield wasn't the first Canadian astronaut to visit the ISS, though. Julie Payette visited the space station in 1999, but it was still very small then and no one lived on it. Marc Garneau went aboard the ISS in late 2000 on a mission to install massive solar ray panels to the space station. Since Garneau's visit, the space lab Destiny module has been added to the station. Hadfield's crew mates on the STS-100/6A space mission included four Americans, one Russian and one Italian.
The International Space Station and Canada
The ISS is being jointly built by the United States, Canada, Russia, Japan and eleven European countries. Its modules will support a permanent international crew of seven astronauts and their experiments. It will be a platform for observation of Earth and space, and its experiments are expected to lead to new materials and medicines which can be developed only in microgravity.
Canada's financial contribution to the ISS is $1.4 billion of the $60 billion total construction cost. That means Canada "owns" 2.3 percent of the space station and is allotted that amount of flight time for astronauts and for experiments on the station.
The main purpose of Hadfield's mission was to deliver the Canadarm2, officially called the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). This robotic arm which was assembled 400 km (249 miles) above the earth works like a construction crane to build and maintain the ISS. All missions in the ISS construction schedule will need to use Canadarm2.
The crew also installed an antenna outside the ISS and moved scientific equipment from the Rafaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) into the station.
Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield
A test pilot, Chris Hadfield was one of the second wave of Canadians chosen as astronauts in 1992. He and Marc Garneau were the first Canadians to enter NASA's mission specialist program and Chris Hadfield was the first non-American to serve as a Chief CAPCOM - an astronaut who works as the voice of Mission Control during space shuttle flights and training simulations. Chris Hadfield's first space mission was in 1995 as a mission specialist on STS-74, NASA's second space shuttle mission to rendezvous and dock with the Russian Space Station Mir.