Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
Thirsk, Dr Robert Brent (1953-) Canadian physician mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-78,ISS EO-20.

Educated Calgary; MIT; McGill.

NASA Official Biography

NAME: Robert (Bob) Brent Thirsk (M.D., P.Eng.)
Payload Specialist

Born August 17, 1953, in New Westminister, British Columbia. Married to Brenda Biasutti of Montreal, Quebec. They have two children. Dr. Thirsk enjoys spending time with his family as well as flying, squash, and playing the piano.

Attended primary and secondary schools in British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba. Received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Calgary in 1976, a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1978, and a doctorate of medicine degree from McGill University in 1982.

Member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, the Canadian College of Family Physicians, the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, the Aerospace Medical Association, the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and of British Columbia, and the Ontario Medical Association. He is also a Director of the Canadian Foundation for the International Space University.

Won the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta Gold Medal in 1976. First recipient of the University of Calgary Distinguished Alumni Award (1985).

Dr. Thirsk did research in biomedical engineering during his years at MIT and McGill University. He was in the Family Medicine Residency Program at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Montreal when he was selected to begin astronaut training.

As one of the six Canadian astronauts selected in December 1983, Dr. Thirsk began astronaut training in February 1984. He served as back up Payload Specialist to Marc Garneau for Mission 41-G which flew October 5 to 13, 1984.

Dr. Thirsk is currently co-leader of an international team investigating the effect of weightlessness on the body's venous system. He has designed an experimental "anti-gravity suit" that may help astronauts readapt more easily to life on Earth.

Dr. Thirsk regularly participates in parabolic flight experiment campaigns on board NASA's KC-135 aircraft and has been involved in several Space Medicine, Space Station and mission planning working groups.

He served as Chief Astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency in 1993 and 1994. In February 1994, he was Crew Commander for the Canadian Astronaut Program Space Unit Life Simulation (CAPSULS), a simulated 7-day space mission in which four Canadian astronauts participated.

From September 1994 to March 1995, Dr. Thirsk undertook a program of specialized training in Victoria, British Columbia, designed to enhance his expertise as a crew member of an upcoming space mission. This included medical practice, research, and Russian language training. As an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, he continues his research in space medicine.

In April 1995, Dr. Thirsk was selected to participate in the Life and Microgravity Spacelab mission (STS-78), an international research mission scheduled for mid-1996 aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. He is currently in training at the Marshall and Johnson Space Flight Centers.

JUNE 1995

Birth Place: New Westminister, British Columbia.
Status: Active.

Born: 1953.08.17.
Spaceflights: 2 .
Total time in space: 204.77 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Canada Group 1 - 1983 Requirement: engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flight billets provided in exchange for Canadian development of the shuttle's remote manipulator arm. More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-78 Crew: Brady, Favier, Helms, Henricks, Kregel, Linnehan, Thirsk. Carried Life and Microgravity Spacelab; human biological and microgravity experiments. More...
  • ISS EP-8 Crew: Vittori. Italian ESA astronaut. Mission to swap Soyuz lifeboats docked to station. Backup crew: Thirsk. More...
  • ISS EO-20 ISS long-term residence mission. Crew: Romanenko Roman, De Winne,Thirsk. Six-month, long-term, resident crew of the International Space Station. Backup crew: Kondratiyev, Kuipers,Hadfield. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • CSA Canadian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Canadian Space Agency, Canada. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Thirsk Chronology

1996 June 20 - . 14:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-78.
  • STS-78 - . Call Sign: Columbia. Crew: Brady; Favier; Helms; Henricks; Kregel; Linnehan; Thirsk. Payload: Columbia F20 / EDO. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brady; Favier; Helms; Henricks; Kregel; Linnehan; Thirsk. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-78. Spacecraft: Columbia. Duration: 16.91 days. Decay Date: 1996-07-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 23931 . COSPAR: 1996-036A. Apogee: 261 km (162 mi). Perigee: 246 km (152 mi). Inclination: 39.0000 deg. Period: 89.60 min. Columbia carried Terence T Henricks, Kevin R Kregel, Susan J Helms, Richard M Linnehan, Charles E Brady, Jr, Jean-Jacques Favier, and Robert Brent Thirsk to orbit. Main payload was the Life and Microgravity Spacelab for conducting human biological and microgravity experiments. Columbia landed safely at Kennedy Space Center on July 7.

1996 July 7 - .
2009 May 27 - . 10:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz FG. LV Configuration: Soyuz-FG s/n 1745.
  • Soyuz TMA-15 - . Call Sign: Parus. Crew: Romanenko, Roman; De Winne; Thirsk. Payload: Soyuz TMA s/n 225. Mass: 7,250 kg (15,980 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RKA. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: ISS EO-20; ISS EO-19. Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA. Duration: 187.86 days. Decay Date: 2009-12-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 35010 . COSPAR: 2009-030A. Apogee: 354 km (219 mi). Perigee: 344 km (213 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.50 min. Summary: Delivered EO-20 crew to the ISS. Returned to earth 1 December 2009..

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