And the answer: Chris Hadfield.
On April 22, 2001, Chris Hadfield made history as the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk. In his career, he has flown three space missions, performed two spacewalks, and spent 166 days in space.
Although the first Canadian spacewalk occurred in 2001, Canada has been investigating and studying space travel since the 1800s. In fact, the first observatory in North America was actually constructed in Nova Scotia, all the way back in 1765! After the successful launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik in 1956, Canada began developing its own satellites in the 60s—making it the third nation in the world to do so. Canadian satellites were designed with specific modules so effective that they quickly became the standard across the world. And yet, that was just the beginning for Canadian space exploration.
Not only was Chris Hadfield the first Canadian to walk in space, but he was also the first Canadian to command the International Space Station. After spending time in the Canadian Armed Forces, Hadfield graduated in 1982 with a degree in mechanical engineering. In 1992, Hadfield and three others were chosen by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to enter the astronaut-training program, and in 1995, Hadfield made his first flight into space. Finally, in 2001, Hadfield and American astronaut Scott Parazynski worked for hours floating outside the International Space Station to unpack and install Canadarm2—a Canadian-designed robotic arm meant to grab and move satellites. In doing so, Hadfield became the first Canadian to perform a space walk.
Did you know?
This week is World Space Week! Set around the week of October 4-10 each year to commemorate the historic launch of the first satellite, World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contributions to the betterment of the human condition. Learn more about this year’s event here.