Robert Thirsk treasures outer space adventures


OTTAWA | He’s been in orbit twice now as one of Canada’s astronauts assigned to the International Space Station. Robert Brent Thirsk treasures his memories of the rare privilege of seeing Earth in all its glory from space. The Orléans scientist-astronaut now has another special keepsake memory. His visit to Rideau Hall to meet with Canada’s Gover- nor General Daniel Johnston and his induc- tion as an Officer of the Order of Canada. “Today is a special day,”Thirsk said, during an interview following the official presenta- tion ceremony. “It’s caused me to reflect on all the people, the institutions that brought me to this place here where Canada reco- gnizes the value that I and my astronaut colleagues are doing in space. I’d just like to say thank you tomy neighbours, my friends, my teachers, my professors, the institutions that I work for, for placing value on what I do and supporting my family and suppor- ting me.” Thirsk, 60, called British Columbia his home province as a child but his educa- tion led him to elementary and secondary schools in B.C., Alberta and Manitoba. He received his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the Univer- sity of Calgary and went on to complete his Master’s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), followed by MD stu- dies at Montréal’s McGill University and then a Masters in Business Administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management. During his first space station mission he re- ceived another honourary degree from U of Calgary and fellow astronaut Koichi Wakata placed the convocation cape on him as part of the ceremony, making Thirsk the first person ever to receive a university degree while in space. Thirsk joined the Canadian Space Agen- cy’s (CSA) astronaut program in 1983, wor- king on projects related to space medicine, including leading a team which designed and tested an experimental “anti-gravity suit” intended to help astronauts deal with the effects of extended spaceflight missions on their cardiovascular system. As one of Canada’s space pioneers, Thirsk has two ISS missions under his belt, inclu- ding being the first Canadian engaged in a long-duration posting. “My wife says that’s it,” he said, laughing, regarding the likelihood of a space station hat trick for him.“But if someone offeredme an opportunity, I would give it a go.” As a scientist-astronaut, Thirsk and his fellow Canadians like Chris Hadfield and Roberta Bondar, represent the next step in space exploration, regular and ongoing research and development work inside a working space station. Thirsk is quick to list practical reasons why Canada needs to be part of the Final Frontier. “There are many reasons why we sup- port space (exploration) in Canada,” he said. “First of all, economic. There are a number of jobs and revenue that it would bring to Canada through our companies. Typically, the Canadian taxpayer invests on average


René Rochon, fils de Zotique Rochon et de Philomène Leroux, naît à Rockland, le 19 janvier 1909. Homme très actif, René travaille au service des

Recherches Nationales durant 32 ans. De retour à la maison le soir, il s’implique dans diverses associations, notamment comme président de la fanfare de Rockland durant 36 ans et gérant de l’ancienne patinoire à l’aréna située en face de l’église de la Très-Sainte-Trinité pendant 35 ans. Il est aussi président du club Chasse et Pêche durant 20 ans et pompier au besoin. Durant toute sa vie, monsieur Rochon trempe dans diverses organisations paroissiales et provinciales. Il est détective pour la province d’Ontario pendant 50 ans. En l’église Sainte-Félicité de Clarence Creek, le 28 avril 1930, René épouse Rhéa Brunet, fille de Romuald Brunet et de Rosalie Denis, née le 8 avril 1910. De leur union naissent : Rita née le 21 décembre 1930, décédée le 12 août 1986, mariée à Guy Gagnon, Roméo né le 8 juillet 1932, marié à Denise Martel, Richard né le 16 mai 1935, marié à Henriette Dick, décédée le 23 octobre 2004, La famille Rochon élit domicile rue Wallace, Rockland. Rhéa admire René et ses fils lors despratiquesdefanfare lesoirsur lagalerie.Lesvoisinsapprécientcesmoments,même s’il y a répétitions de notes. Rhéa est une personne enjouée; elle aime rire et chanter. Au décès de son époux le 11 octobre 1980, elle réside dans la maison familiale avec son fils Denis durant quelques années, puis elle choisit de demeurer à la résidence Simon. Elle décède au Centre Roger Séguin à Clarence Creek le 29 juin 2007. Aujourd’hui plusieurs enfants de la famille de Rhéa et René demeurent encore à Rockland. Bravo à cette famille pionnière! LIGNÉE DIRECTE ANCETRALE DE RENÉ ROCHON 9—René ROCHON - Rhéa BRUNET (Romuald et Rosalie DENIS) Mariés le 28 avril 1930 en l’église Ste-Félicité, Clarence Creek, Ontario (REP comté Russell) Robert né en 1934, décédé à l’âge de neuf mois, Ronald né le 4 octobre 1938, marié à Judy Serrurier, Raymonde née le 28 septembre 1939, mariée à Lucien Huot, Raymond né le 19 janvier 1942, marié à Hélène Cowan et Denis né le 8 avril 1945, décédé le 4 juin 1996.

$250 to $300 million a year in funds to the Canadian space program. Canadian space industry typically has two to three billion dollars of revenue every year from the niche areas of skills and technologies we have here in Canada. So, it’s a no-brainer. Canada makes money from our investment in the space program.” He smiles when he considers the most common question he gets from children during the past few years of public appea- rances he’s made as a Canadian astronaut at schools and other events. “‘How do you go to the bathroom in space?’” he said, grinning. “It’s actually a question that I welcome, because it tells me that the kids are thinking about how some of these bodily functions work in a weightless environment.” Older children and young adults also pose several practical questions when mee- ting with Thirsk. “Probably the most common question from a teenager is ‘What do I need to do to prepare to pursue a career as an astronaut?’ My answer is: Number one, get an educa- tion. Education is the launch pad for dreams. Number two, get as much team work skills developed as you can. Thirdly, take care of your body. It’s really tough on the human body to fly in space, not just the launch and the re-entry, but also what happens to the body in a weightless environment.” When Thirsk talks about the importance of education as part of a future astronaut’s training, he also notes that includes skills training in trades like welding, and electro- nics. There is a place up in space for people who are good with their hands. “Absolutely. All astronauts have a deep academic and research background. But once you get in orbit, life in space is deter- mined by how well you are with your trade or your hands-on skills. So if you’re not com- fortable with a wrench in your hands or a soldering iron, then you’re probably not going to be a great astronaut. You’ll need some hands-on skills, but you also need a passion to be an adventurer as well.”

8—Zotique ROCHON - Philomène LEROUX (Adolphe et Praxède LONGTIN) Mariés le 8 mars 1886 en l’église Ste-Félicité, Clarence Creek, Ontario (REP comté Russell) 7—Jean-Baptiste ROCHON - Marguerite RIOPEL (Pierre et Marie ROCHON) Mariés le 12 janvier 1857 à Ste-Scholastique, Bas-Canada (MP Clarence Creek + BMS) 6—Jean ROCHON - Josephte LÉONARD (Nicolas et Madeleine LÉCUYER) Mariés le 4 février 1833 à Ste-Scholastique, Bas-Canada (BMS) 5— Jean-Baptiste ROCHON - Josephte PLOUFFE (Jacques et Geneviève TAILLEFER) Mariés le 23 février 1802 à St-Martin, Île-Jésus, Bas-Canada (GQA) 4—Antoine ROCHON - Marguerite MATTE (Pierre et Suzanne FILION) Mariés le 19 avril 1762 en l’église St-Charles, Lachenaie, Nouvelle-France (GQA) 3—François ROCHON - Marie-Charlotte GINGRAS (Charles et Marie- Françoise AMIOT) Mariés le 28 janvier 1728 à St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Nouvelle-France (DGFQ) 2—Gervais ROCHERON ou ROCHON - Marie-Madeleine GUYON (Claude et Catherine COLLIN) Mariés le 26 octobre 1671 à Ste-Famille, Île-d’Orléans, Nouvelle-France (DGFQ) 1—Julien ROCHERON ou ROCHON Martine LEMOYNE Ils sont originaires de St-Côme-de-Vair, arrondissement de Mamers, évêché de Le Mans, Maine (Sarthe), France Les notices biographiques et les ascendances patrilinéaires publiées dans le journal Vision sont tirées de la collection qui paraîtra dans le livre-souvenir en 2015. Veuillez communiquer avec Denis Ouimet ou Caroll Yelle si vous désirez soumettre votre notice biographique. Si nécessaire, une personne de l’équipe vous aidera à composer le texte et numériser vos photos. Dans la mesure du possible, nous tenterons de retracer vos ancêtres.

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