Another Canadian astronaut is heading out to space this December. While many would expect the famous Chris Hadfield to be travelling beyond Earth's atmosphere once again, there is actually a new astronaut preparing to spend his holidays orbiting Earth. 

David Saint-Jacques, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut is going to be taking off on December 3rd for a 6-month mission aboard the International Space Station, though he was originally scheduled to leave Earth on December 20th. 

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The astronaut will be heading to space early due to complications with a Russian mission that took place earlier this year. The failure of the Soyuz rocket during October has made it so Saint-Jacques has to blast off more than two weeks earlier than his expected launch date in order to provide much-needed assistance on the International Space Station. 

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Not only has Saint-Jacques been training for this moment his entire career, but he has also specifically been on two backup crews in the last five months in order to prepare for take-off this December. 

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Here's everything you need to know about David Saint-Jacques, the Canadian astronaut heading into space next month: 


1. He is one of 14 Canadian astronauts. 

There have only been 14 astronauts selected from Canada and David is the next one scheduled to travel into space. His role on the International Space Station will be a flight engineer, meaning he will help perform navigational tasks. 


2. This is his second mission. 

It may be David's second mission with NASA but it will be his first as an astronaut. Previously, he worked as an aquanaut on the NEEMO 15 undersea exploration mission back in October of 2011. 


3. He is an engineer, astrophysicist, and physician.  

Not only is David a member of the Canadian Space Agency, but he is also actually a trained doctor and engineer. He is associated with multiple post-secondary institutions, including none other than University of CambridgeUniversité Laval, and Ã‰cole Polytechnique de Montréal

In fact, David will also be responsible to ensure that the International Space Station crew is cared for in their remote outpost in space due to his experience as a medical doctor. 


4. He is fully bilingual but can understand 3 other languages.  

Not only can David speak the two official Canadian languages of English and French, but he actually has a basic understanding of three additional languages. If you were to speak to him in Russian, Spanish or Japenese, David would still be able to understand you, though not necessarily be able to speak back to you. 

This certainly would have been helpful during the additional training and work that David undertook as part of the Soyuz rocket backup team.


5. He was selected to be an astronaut in 2009.

David was one of two astronauts selected to join the Canadian Space Agency in 2009, along with Jeremy Hansen. While the two astronauts were selected at the same time, Hansen has yet to go to space on a mission, unlike David who will be travelling out to space for the second time. 

6. He is a father of three.

One thing David will be missing while outside of Earth is definitely his children. The Canadian astronaut has three kids and tweeted out that he plans to continue to read to them every evening even when located on the International Space Station. 


7. He also holds a commercial pilot's licence. 

While it's fair to say that going to space is a little bit (or a lot) more exciting than flying, that doesn't mean David will be held back. 

In addition to being an astronaut, doctor, and engineer, David also holds his commercial pilot's licence. Though he has worked as both an engineer and doctor in the past, having a pilot's licence is interest based as opposed to a career choice.  

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