50 years ago, the Apollo 11 crew completed their mission. The primary objective of Apollo 11 was to perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth. It would have taken 8 years for NASA to complete this goal set by President John F. Kennedy, on May 25, 1961.
If you have read about the Apollo 11 mission, you know that the most difficult part of the mission wasn’t to send a man on the moon, but really to bring the crew back to Earth. Perhaps, that gives a little more value to those 3 artifacts that are kept by McGill University Archives and who did make the trip to outer space.
McGill Martlets in outer space
On February 15, 1985, Marc Garneau, the first Canadian astronaut, gave to McGill University a little souvenir of his mission in space which included a McGill Martlet Flag that was brought on the space shuttle Challenger.
STS-41-G was a historic mission in many ways, it was the first shuttle mission to carry a crew of seven, including the first crew with two women, the first Australian-born person to journey into space and the first Canadian astronaut, Marc Garneau. More specifically, Garneau’s mission was to conduct 10 experiments in three main categories: space technology, space science, and life sciences. The space technology experiments involve two areas: important development tests for the NRCC Space Vision System experiment to be flown on a mission in early 1986 and tests to determine the effect of exposure to space on different advanced composite materials.
201 orbits around the Earth
Space Shuttle Endeavour’s STS-118 mission was the 22nd shuttle flight to the International Space Station. From August 8 to 21, 2007 the mission was continued space station construction by delivering a third starboard truss segment.
Canada’s contribution during this mission was once again crucial. During the mission, Dave Williams will set a Canadian record by spending over 19 hours outside the space station during three scheduled spacewalks. In addition, Canadian-made robotics and sensor technologies that will help ensure the success of the mission and the safety of the shuttle and crew.
As a proud McGill Alumni, Dave Williams brought with him during this mission a McGill University crest. During the 13 days that lasted the mission, this crest completed 201 orbits around the Earth and traveled 8.53 million kilometers in space.
7.9 million kilometers
On April 22, 2001, the Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield ventured out from Space Shuttle Endeavour and into the vacuum of space to attach Canadarm2 to the Destiny Module of the International Space Station (ISS). This marked the first spacewalk for a Canadian, a milestone in Canadian space exploration history. It was also the debut of Canada’s iconic second-generation robotic technology, Canadarm2. Since its activation in 2001, the arm has proven to be an invaluable addition to the ISS, assembling all subsequent elements of the Station.
It was during an official visit of the Canadian astronaut and McGill Alumni, Julie Payette, that this gift (left photo) was presented to the university. This small Canadian flag was flown aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour completing 187 orbits of the Earth and traveled 7.9 million kilometers during mission STS-100 with Colonel Chris Hadfield.
To discover more
See also the Canadian Space Agency Web Site
For breathtaking images and content, you can fly to the Nasa’s Image and Video Library
Frédéric Giuliano | Archivist | McGill University Archives