While most Canadians commute to work via car, bike, bus or train, David Saint-Jacques from Quebec City takes a slightly different mode of transport...spaceship! The Canadian astronaut has been up in space for approximately six months working on the International Space Station (ISS) but will soon be heading home to Earth to spend the summer with his family.
In just five days, Saint-Jacques will end his current space mission and return back to Earth for the first time since December 3, 2018. He is expected to undock from the space station at around 7 PM on Monday, June 24. Deorbit of the Soyuz capsule is scheduled at 9:55 PM and landing back on Earth is expected to be at 10:48 PM in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
While aboard the International Space Station, Saint-Jacques has used social media to connect with people across Canada. He has answered many questions from enthusiastic children around the world and used social media platforms to keep in regular contact with his wife and three young children, who live in Quebec.
It will be a bitter-sweet moment for Saint-Jacques as he returns to this planet, after a successful mission with plenty of incredible memories to take home with him. In typical 9-5 fashion, Saint-Jacques conducted his first spacewalk on April 8, used Canadarm2 for the first time to capture a SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle in May and conducted many experiments with fellow astronauts across his six months on the ISS.
Saint-Jacques has also been making great use of his personal Twitter account, sharing some pretty phenomenal pictures along his space-journey, including what is possibly the coolest selfie ever taken!
On Tuesday, the Canadian Space Agency tweeted a video of Saint-Jacques explaining what he was packing ahead of his return to Earth. In the video, he explains that the feeling of leaving the ISS is ‘bitter-sweet.’ He adds “Of course, [I am] looking forward to going back home, seeing my friends and family but you know, it's a bit emotional to have to leave Station.”
During the video, Saint-Jacques packs up his photographs of friends and family, as well as drawings that his children had made for him, saying "there's no way I am leaving them in space!" Saint-Jacques added that there were a few items that he would be able to take with him on the Soyuz on the way back to Earth, "a few precious items, like toys the kids gave me, and jewellery." He explained that the bulk of what they want to bring back home will go in a 'Dragon spacecraft' with the scientific equipment and experiment results which will take a while longer to get back.
While it is a shame for space-enthusiasts across the world that we will no longer be able to enjoy Saint-Jacques’ incredible photos and social media posts, it will be a wonderful moment next week as he is reunited with his family on Monday.
While Quebec City may not be quite as exciting as outer space, Saint-Jacques will still enjoy this well-deserved break with his feet firmly back on the ground!