2015-07-11 - Geomagnetic storms can influence satellite navigation and radio communications – both critical for airplane flights. When a significant solar storm hits our planet, airlines can divert or cancel flights to ensure safety. Flying high above our planet with little atmosphere to protect them, pilots can also absorb significant doses of cosmic rays and solar radiation. As a matter of fact, they probably absorb as much radiation as a worker in a nuclear power plant in any given year. The Canadian Space Agency supports the universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Waterloo to study space weather and develop applications to increase the resilience of Canadian infrastructure.
In space, it is critical that each astronaut be able to apply knowledge and skills for a specific mission as well as those that may be needed in the event of unforeseen circumstances. An astronaut must therefore have a wide variety of technical qualifications and interpersonal skills, which are developed through a customized training program that continues throughout his or her career—even during missions.
For five months, from December 21, 2012 to May 13, 2013, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield lived and worked aboard the International Space Station (ISS). He conducted Canadian and international science experiments, maintained the Space Station, operated Canadarm2 and performed robotics tasks. On March 13, 2013 he became the first Canadian Commander of the ISS. During his mission he captured in videos, photos and words his experience as an ISS astronaut.