A Brief History
On January 22, 1992, NASA launched mission STS-42, the space shuttle Discovery, into space with a crew that included Ukrainian Canadian Dr. Roberta Bondar, a neurologist. The first Canadian woman and the first neurologist to become an astronaut, Bondar is a woman of many accomplishments, and is yet another example of Canadians of Ukrainian descent (such as Alex Trebek and Wayne Gretzky) to achieve great things.
A highly accomplished scholar, Bondar was educated at the University of Guelph (BSc), the University of Western Ontario (MSc), the University of Toronto (PhD), and McMaster University (MD).
Bondar’s scientific drive and sense of adventure led her to become one of the first 6 people in the Canadian Astronaut Corps in 1983. After 8 years of astronaut training, she finally got her chance to serve as a “payload specialist” on board Discovery in 1992. While on that mission she performed 40 scientific experiments and continued to work as a NASA scientist for more than 10 years afterward.
Bondar has established a charitable organization and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including appearing on a special edition Canadian $25 coin!
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For more information, please see…
Bondar, Barbara and Dr. Roberta Bondar. On the Shuttle: Eight Days in Space. Maple Tree Press, 1993.
Dixon, Joan. Roberta Bondar: The Exceptional Achievements of Canada’s first Woman Astronaut. Amazing Stories, 2004.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by NASA of the STS-42 crew portrait, is in the public domain in the United States because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that “NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted“.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.