Newspaper article The Canadian Press

David Saint-Jacques Doing Well after Space Flight: Canadian Space Agency

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

David Saint-Jacques Doing Well after Space Flight: Canadian Space Agency

Article excerpt

Saint-Jacques continues journey home


MONTREAL - Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques is doing well as he continues his long journey home after a six-month stint aboard the International Space Station, the Canadian Space Agency said Tuesday.

The 49-year-old Quebec native boarded a NASA plane after landing in Kazakhstan late Monday and was expected to arrive in Houston Tuesday after a brief stopover in Scotland.

The agency said Saint-Jacques is in good health despite suffering the effects of a 400-kilometre drop to Earth.

"Despite experiencing typical post-flight symptoms like nausea, he is well," agency spokeswoman Marie-Andre Malouin wrote in an email.

The married father of three was able to speak with his wife and parents after landing, Malouin added.

Former astronaut Robert Thirsk, who co-hosted a viewing party at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Longueuil, Que., Monday night, said descending from space in the capsule is a shock to the body comparable to a car crash.

"In descending, the force of gravity is strong. It's like having four people sitting on your chest," he told the audience, which included members of Saint-Jacques' family. "It's hard to breathe, but you have to concentrate to make sure you breathe well and don't get hurt."

He added that when the parachute opens before landing, "there is a big movement like a pendulum, left to right, and the landing is a crash like a car accident."

Thirsk, who spent 188 days on the space station in 2009, said despite the jarring impact, injuries are rare because the seats in the capsule are designed to keep the astronauts protected.

Saint-Jacques, along with NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, returned to Earth aboard a Soyuz capsule. He gave a thumbs-up as he was carried from the capsule following what NASA described as a "picture perfect" landing at 10:47 p. …

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