Chapter 11 – Canadian Engineers

Robert Thirsk – Engineer and Astronaut

Robert (Bob) Thirsk

There is a Douglas College, New Westminster, Canada connection to Bob Thirsk. He became an honourary fellow of the College in the Winter of 2019.  At his speech he explained why that the reason he became both an engineer and a medical doctor was that at the time when he was in school there was no such thing as a degree in bio-engineering.

You can read much more about him here:

Birthdate and birthplace: August 17, 1953, New Westminster, British Columbia.

Education: Bob attended primary and secondary schools in British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Calgary in 1976, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1978, a Doctorate of Medicine from McGill University in 1982, and a Master of Business Administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1998.

Experience: Bob was selected in December 1983 for the Canadian astronaut corps. He began astronaut training in February 1984 and served as backup payload specialist to Marc Garneau for the October 1984 Space Shuttle Mission STS-41G.

Space flight experience:

In June and July 1996, Bob flew as a payload specialist aboard Space Shuttle Mission STS-78, the Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS) mission.

In 2009 Bob became the first Canadian astronaut to go on a long-duration expedition aboard the ISS. He and two crewmates launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on May 27 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. When their Soyuz vehicle docked, the ISS became home for the first time to a permanent crew of six.

Helping us get to Mars



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To the extent possible under law, Jennifer Kirkey has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Engineering and Technology in Society - Canada, except where otherwise noted.

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