LONGUEUIL, Que. – While David Saint-Jacques broke into space on Monday, retired astronaut Robert Tirsk clinically explained the process of packaged crowds of employees and guests of the Canadian Space Agency.
It was only after the spacecraft had entered the orbit about nine minutes later, pulling out the first applause from the audience watching a living NASA embankment, Tirsk acknowledged some of the pre-launching anxieties for the Canadian astronaut's mission.
His former colleague was on the first launch with a crew, after a missile failure forced the Soyuz capsule to carry two astronauts to stop and arrive in an emergency in October. Russia briefly suspended the launches to investigate before giving the mission a clear 1 st November.
"I think I was much more agitated than the typical launch of the Alliance due to the offensive break in October," he said in the interview for the first time a Canadian who flew a Soyuz capsule.
"But I trust Russian colleagues … and they made the right decisions. And we have seen today, a complete success."
Since Saint-Jacques became only the ninth Canadian man who headed into space, people across the country are connected to the Canadian Space Agency to follow the historic flight of Saint-Jacques.
Former astronaut Dave Williams attended a fun at the Ontario Science Center in Toronto, while in Halifax, Mikmak's students, teachers and families gathered at the discoveries center to follow. Saint Jacques has a special place in the community: he accepted the name Mikmak, Tapit, and brings into the universe what Mikhmak describes as spiritual gifts.
By the end of his six-month space mission, Saint-Jacques, 48, will set a record for the longest trip to Canada – the record he currently holds in Trsk.
But he will not have much time to keep on that feat. On the station's board, Saint-Jacques will conduct a number of scientific experiments, including research to provide distant medical care and the effects of microgravity on the body.
Thirsk is not unknown for a long-lived space flight. He began a six-month trip to the space station in 2009, just weeks after Saint-Jacques joined the astronaut and spent more time in space than any other Canadian, 206 days under the belt.
Thirsk, 65, said he had advised Saint-Jacques not to forget to take time for himself.
"What he does right now is incredible – very few people have ever done it. So, take the time to stop and think about what you do for Canada, for humanity," said Thirsk. "Look out the window, without the camera, just look down on the planet and think about what the big picture is".
One of the newest astronauts in Canada, Jenni Sidey-Gibbons, was widely spread by the rocket carrying Saint-Jacques. She later said she was busy with her own reaction, seeing that her colleague fulfills a lifelong dream.
"I know it's something that means a lot to him and his family and the team he has there," she said.
But Sidey-Gibbons, chosen for the space program in 2017, is excited about the prospect of future research – moving out of the orbit of the lower planet and in deep space missions.
"The space is changing so fast and my hope is Canada as a participant as it used to be in the international programs that are moving forward," she said. "We do not know where we are going or what we will find, but it will be interesting."