After spending more than six months in space, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will return to Earth on Monday, June 24.
As he is getting ready to leave, Saint-Jacques gave a final press briefing on Wednesday morning on the International Space Station (ISS).
You can watch the full press conference here:
He started by thanking the winners of the “Wanted: Creative Writers” contest who sent their stories to David Saint-Jacques for him to read. He explains that he also read them to his children. They had to write an out-of-this-world space-themed children’s story and submit it to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) which published the winners on its website.
Asked about the highlights of his stay on board the ISS, Saint-Jacques talked about his first spacewalk — the first Canadian to walk in space since David Williams in 2007 — but also when he captured a SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle in May using the Canadarm2.
Pros and cons of living in space
While playing with his microphone and making flips in the zero-gravity room, Saint-Jacques explained what he was looking forward to doing when returning to Earth.
Saint-Jacques looks forward to simple things like feeling the wind on his face or just walking down a busy street.
He also explained how he learned to fly after losing all sense of gravity and balance in space. The downside is that he will have to learn to walk again.
Saint-Jacques also said that he has grown a little because of his spine which has elongated in the absence of gravity. Again, when he returns to Earth, the gravity of the planet will “crush him a little and it can be painful”, he explains.
Saint-Jacques’ legacy on board the ISS
Asked about the legacy he will leave behind, Saint-Jacques hopes to share the perspective that space gives him, such as the beauty and fragility of our planet, which “we must take care of for generations to come,” he said.
He also mentioned the political aspect of the ISS, referring to the many countries that have contributed to the construction of the station and how we can all work together when we put aside our differences and create incredible things.
While aboard the space station, Saint-Jacques has conducted several experiments and spoken with children across Canada.
Five days left in space
In his last days on the space station, the Canadian astronaut explained that he will try to ‘burn it [his experience in the ISS] in his memory’ because he knows that when he is back to Earth, it will be hard for him to believe he lived in space for six months.
Now, the Canadian astronaut will continue his work during the last few days he has left on the ISS and will pack everything he has. Saint-Jacques can leave nothing behind in the station.
On Tuesday, the Canadian Space Agency tweeted a video of Saint-Jacques explaining what he was packing ahead of his return to Earth.
Video: CSA/NASA pic.twitter.com/2n5xBc9n0f
— CanadianSpaceAgency (@csa_asc) June 18, 2019
He is scheduled to undock from the space station at 7 p.m. on June 24. Deorbit of the Soyuz capsule is expected at 9:55 p.m. and landing is expected at 10:48 p.m. in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
Canada’s next astronaut will be Jeremy Hansen who is to head to space sometime in the coming years.
With files from CBC