Press Release

Inspiring the Next Generation of Canadian Astronauts

By SpaceRef Editor
March 27, 2015
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Students at Nakasuk School in Iqaluit were visited today by the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister for the Arctic Council and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, accompanied by Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques. 

Minister Aglukkaq spoke about Canada’s proud history in space, including space robotics such as Canadarm-2 and Dextre. She also encouraged students to pursue their education in math, sciences and robotics, like Astronaut David Saint-Jacques, to become Canada’s future astronauts.

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques spoke about his role as a Canadian astronaut and explained how working and living in the North contributed to his inspiration to become an astronaut.

Bringing students and astronauts together provides young minds with a greater understanding of space exploration, space travel and the possibilities of life in space. It motivates young Canadians to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Quick facts

Prior to joining the Canadian Space Program David Saint-Jacques was a family doctor in the Arctic at Inuulitsivik Health Center in Puvirnituq, Quebec.

During his tour of the region, David Saint-Jacques is meeting with more than 1,000 students from grades three to 12, college students, as well as community members and officials.

The Government of Canada’s commitment to motivating young Canadians to pursue careers in science, technology, math and engineering is aligned with Canada’s Space Policy Framework’s core principle of Inspiring Canadians.

The Government of Canada is currently contributing to several space exploration projects, including:

The James Webb Telescope project, the next-generation space observatory, and the most powerful space telescope ever;

the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter, a sophisticated laser-based mapping system, Canada’s contribution to the NASA-led mission that will be used to create unprecedented 3D images of an asteroid, allowing for the collection of samples from its surface;

funding for 12 companies to support the development of products to better use data from Canadian Space Agency-supported Earth Observation missions; and

funding for Communications and Power Industries Canada Inc. to develop a satellite radar component as part of the international Surface Water and Ocean Topography Mission. This mission will survey 90 percent of the globe, studying the Earth’s lakes, rivers, reservoirs and oceans.

Canada’s leading role in space is also demonstrated through continued participation in the International Space Station (ISS) until 2020.


“Canada has an incredibly proud history in space exploration and innovation. To keep this industry strong and growing, we need younger generations of students, like those in the North, to keep pursuing their education and build on Canada’s successes. Astronaut David Saint-Jacques understands the realities of living in the North and his visit with students in Iqaluit will have a meaningful impact.”

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister for the Arctic Council and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Associated Links

David Saint-Jacques‘ biography

For more information on Canada’s Space Policy Framework

Twitter: @csa_asc

SpaceRef staff editor.