Canadians in Space
Date of Issue
March 15, 1985
Perforation or Dimension
Designed by Les Holloway
The space debut of the first Canadian astronaut took place on 5 October 1984. The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had invited Canada to send an astronaut on the American space shuttle's mission 41-G as a cooperative venture in space exploration between the two countries. The Canadian Space Program began in the 1950's. Its goals, through the use of satellites, are to improve communications, to study the Far North, and to develop the Canadian aerospace industry. At the time, the "northern lights" were bright wonders, romantic but unexplained. Balloons and probes were used in an effort to understand these nocturnal electromagnetic phenomena. In 1962, Canada launched Alouette, an atmospheric observation satellite, into orbit. It was followed by the ISIS, HERMES, and ANIK series. In 1976, NASA ordered a remote-controlled arm of its space shuttle from the National Research Council (NRC). The Canadarm, easily capable of grasping and manipulating satellites, passed it first space test in 1981. In December 1983, the NRC chose six persons for the first team of Canadian astronauts from more than 4300 candidates who had entered a national competition for the positions. The team members are Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Steve McLean, Kenneth Money, Robert Thrisk, and Bjarni Tryggvason. Marc Garneau, an electronic engineer and naval commander, undertook the first mission. During his eight-day voyage in space as a payload specialist, he carried out several experiments that were divided into three main categories: space technology, space sciences, and life sciences. Two other missions are forecast for the Canadian Astronaut Program in 1986. The stamp is the work of Les Holloway of the design company Gottschalk + Ash International. It features the earth as seen from space, with the silhouette of a Canadian astronaut in the foreground. To the right of the astronaut, one of the space shuttle's instrument panels can be seen.
Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1985.
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