OTTAWA – David Saint-Jacques, the 46-year-old Quebec native named Monday as Canada’s newest astronaut, can say he’s a well-rounded guy. Not only is he highly educated, he’s an athlete with a vocabulary that spans five languages.
Here’s a look at his accomplishments so far:
— Born in Quebec City on January 6, 1970, Saint-Jacques is married and has two children. His Canadian Space Agency biography says he likes to climb mountains, cycle, ski and go sailing.
— He holds a commercial pilot licence with multi-engine and instrument ratings and an advanced scuba-diving licence.
— Saint-Jacques is fluent in English and French and can also speak and understand Russian, Spanish and Japanese.
— He holds degrees in engineering physics and medicine, along with a PhD in astrophysics from Cambridge University. He completed his family medicine residency at McGill University in Montreal. He’s also trained to deal with wilderness medical emergencies.
— Saint-Jacques has received the Royal Canadian Geographical Society Gold Medal, a Canada Millennium Scholarship, a post-doctoral fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and various other honours from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Space Agency and the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust.
— Before joining the Canadian space program, Saint-Jacques practised medicine at the remote Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq, Nunavik, an Inuit community on Hudson Bay. He has also studied and worked in France, Hungary, Lebanon and Guatemala.
— He’s been living in Houston, Texas, since being selected as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class and has since been assigned to the space agency’s robotics branch. He has also taken lead positions on the ground for a number of space missions.
Quote: “I stand on the shoulders of giants. The astronauts who have preceded me, they were my childhood inspiration, my colleagues and my mentors.” — Saint-Jacques at a news conference Monday where he was revealed as the next Canadian scheduled to work on the International Space Station.