50 Years of Human Space Flight - A World-Wide Celebration

Longueuil, Quebec, April 12, 2011 – Today, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) united with space-faring nations from around the world to celebrate a milestone in human spaceflight history, the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight with Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Canadian Space Agency President Steve MacLean presents Head of the Russian Federal Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency (CSA) President Steve MacLean presents Head of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) (Anatoly Perminov with a copy of the telegram sent by Prime Minister Diefenbaker to Premier Khrushchev on this memorable day 50 years ago. (April 11, 2011)
(Credits: Stephanie Stoll, NASA TV)

CSA astronaut Chris Hadfield joined students and visitors at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg to pay tribute to Mr. Gagarin and celebrate Canada's human spaceflight history. Mr. Hadfield gave a multi-media presentation on the Canadian achievements in human space exploration. As the first Canadian astronaut to perform a spacewalk 10 years ago when he installed Canadarm2 on the International Space Station (ISS), Mr. Hadfield spoke about the 10th anniversary of the arm, coming up April 19, as well as the significance the arm had in assembling the ISS. Mr. Hadfield also talked to the students about his training, as he is currently preparing for a long-duration space mission.

In addition, CSA President Steve MacLean was part of an international delegation that commemorated Mr. Gagarin's first human space flight anniversary in a ceremony in Moscow, Russia, held by the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

"Canada congratulates the Russian space community for this important milestone in our global human spaceflight history", said President MacLean. "Fifty years ago, the space race was the force driving the nations. Today, engaging citizens in engineering, science and education is the goal pushing nations to come together, share skills and expertise for the benefits of all humankind."

President MacLean presented Anatoly Perminov, head of the Roscosmos, with a copy of the telegram sent by Prime Minister Diefenbaker to Premier Khrushchev on this memorable day 50 years ago.

25 years of Canadians in Space

Canada's first astronaut, Marc Garneau, launched into space in 1984, followed by other Canadian astronauts such as Roberta Bondar, Steve MacLean, Dave Williams and Julie Payette. In total, Canadian astronauts have flown into space on 14 Shuttle missions and one Soyuz mission for a long duration mission aboard the ISS. These astronauts have taken part in many scientific experiments, from the study of bone loss to cardiovascular research and have performed numerous robotic operations for assembly and maintenance tasks of the Station.

Three Canadians have performed spacewalks, while Robert Thirsk established a Canadian record, in 2009, for the longest time in space, living aboard the Station for 180 days. In 2012-2013, Chris Hadfield will participate in a second long duration mission for Canada. During the second half of this mission, he will become Canada's first ISS Commander.

For the complete list of space missions with a Canadian astronaut onboard (chronologically).

For more information on Chris Hadfield's role in Expedition 34/35, visit the CSA website.

- 30 -

For more information:

Canadian Space Agency
Media Relations Office
Telephone: 450-926-4370
E-mail:
Website: www.asc-csa.gc.ca