"In the distance was the beautiful blue oasis of the planet Earth cast against the black infinite void of space. It was a moment of a lifetime, riding on the end of an icon of Canadian technology, the Canadarm2, with the Canadian flag on my shoulder. I felt immense pride in being able to follow in the footsteps of past Canadian space pioneers on a path to space that would be pursued by the next generation of Canadian in space. There is no question that Canada is a major spacefaring nation. After the spacewalk, one of the crew floated over to share a thought, 'Dave, we in the international program truly understand the space station is just the base for the Canadarm.' The wry humour brought a smile to my face.
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About the Author
Elizabeth Howell, PhD, is a Canadian journalist focusing on space exploration. Her clients include CBC, SpaceQ, and Space.com. She has seen rocket launches in the United States and Kazakhstan, lived on a simulated Mars base, and interviewed dozens of astronauts. She teaches technical writing at Algonquin College and does consulting work for numerous institutions. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.
Read an Excerpt
While Parazynski had dozens of hours of spacewalking experience and the ground trusted his work, the Canadian Space Agency’s Ken Podwalski still remembers the tension while watching the astronaut run through the procedures that his team helped develop.
“You get into this remarkable complicated [situation] ... everything piling together in terms of how bad a situation it is, but then look at the eloquence of the solution,” he said. Those elements were so simple that even a teenager could grasp them: Canadarm2, a mobile extender, cufflinks, and a hardworking team. “The way that all worked cooperatively together, it’s just almost a fascinating ... juxtaposition. I hate to use a fancy word like that, but it really kind of reflects one off the other,” Podwalski said.
And it worked. Did it ever work. Not only did the team save the solar array, but incredibly, this fix – thrown together over 72 gruelling hours in Montreal and Houston and other space station center locations – was still holding together beautifully nine years later, according to a photo posted on Twitter that Parazynski commented on. “Our repairs are still under warranty,” joked the retired astronaut in 2016.
Table of Contents
Foreword Dave Williams, M.D. vii
Chapter 1 "That's $600 a litre in space paint" 1
Chapter 2 "Three strong Canadian arms on board" 27
Chapter 3 Space cards 46
Chapter 4 Glass ceilings and North stars 71
Chapter 5 Canadam, cuff links and collaboration 93
Chapter 6 More than just visitors 121
Chapter 7 Nine years an astronaut 142
Chapter 8 "Don't let go, Canada" 166
Author's Note 201