10 remarkable things about astronaut David Saint-Jacques

C2 team
10 remarkable things about astronaut David Saint-Jacques

An engineer, an astrophysicist, a doctor, an astronaut… David Saint-Jacques is the quintessential 21st century Renaissance man.

The 49-year-old Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut will be sharing his thoughts from a wholly different perspective, literally, when he speaks at C2 Montréal this May from a truly out-of-this-world platform: the International Space Station (ISS).

David’s been in space since lifting off Dec. 3, 2018, part of Expedition 58/59, a six-month mission that ends in June. He is currently orbiting approximately 400 km above the Earth, where he’s been for 100 days at the time of this writing, and as if that’s not remarkable enough…


Here are 10 other remarkable things about David Saint-Jacques

1. David is only the ninth CSA astronaut who has been to space.

2. He is fluent in English and French and can also converse in Russian, Spanish and Japanese. 

3. David has degrees in engineering, astrophysics and medicine. Before becoming an astrophysicist and a doctor, David got his start as a biomedical engineer designing radiology equipment for angiography (a medical imaging technique used to visualize the inside of blood vessels and organs of the body).

 4. While doing his graduate studies in astrophysics at Cambridge University, David developed adaptive optics and interferometry systems for the Cambridge Optical Aperture Synthesis Telescope (COAST) and the William Hershel Telescope in the Canary Islands.

 5. David completed his family medicine residency at Montréal’s McGill University, where his training focused on first-line medical practice in isolated locales. Prior to joining the Canadian space program, David was a medical doctor and the Co-Chief of Medicine at the Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq, Nunavik, an Inuit community on Hudson Bay in Canada’s north.

6. After being selected by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in 2009, he was placed in the 20th NASA astronaut class where was trained in ISS systems and procedures, spacewalks, robotics, flying a T38-N jet, field geology training, Russian language, and wilderness summer, winter and water survival training.

7. As an astronaut, David has taken part in various geology, glaciology, speleology and other scientific expeditions such as NASA’s underwater NEEMO 15 mission and the European Space Agency’s underground CAVES 2013 mission.

10 remarkable things about astronaut David Saint-Jacques

Credit: Canadian Space Agency

8. While in space, David is using his vantage point on the ISS to take photos for the web-based educational initiative Exploring Earth. The project also involves fellow Canadian astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar and, using an interactive world map, tells the story of our planet and ongoing human impact on the environment. 

9. David’s a lifelong mountaineer, cyclist, skier and avid sailor. He also holds a commercial pilot licence with multi-engine and instrument ratings and an advanced scuba-diving licence.

10. And David’s also no slouch when it comes to plumbing… in space. In addition to conducting numerous science investigations focused on biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and testing innovative technologies, his duties aboard the ISS recently included fixing a leaking space station toilet after a water system connection detached.


And another wave of diverse speakers rolls in

An extraterrestrial visionary, a Google whisperer, a social robot, an innovation culture curator, a journalist historian and more join the growing C2 2019 speaker roster. Meet them here, and check back often in the coming weeks for even more programming announcements.


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Be sure to take advantage of the new spring rate and buy your passes now.

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