Roberta Lynn Bondar Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science

First Canadian woman astronaut in space

The Story

When Bondar was young she would gaze up at the clear night skies of Northern Ontario and pretend to be Flash Gordon on an asteroid in search of “Ming the Merciless.” She made models of rockets, collected posters and badges from NASA, and played with crystal radio sets, hoping to make first contact with alien beings. Later she took physics and mathematics courses in high school and received university degrees in zoology and biology, got a private pilot’s license and became a doctor specializing in neurology. Then she was accepted into the Canadian Space Program and trained in the USA for three full years to do science in space. In January 1992, she became the first Canadian woman in space when she flew on the space shuttle Discovery as a payload specialist on the first International Microgravity Laboratory Mission. She is the author of Touching the Earth, published in September 1995.

Sources: Bondar, personal communication; Canadian Space Agency


Career ideas:

  • research scientist, physics
  • research scientist, electronics
  • research scientist, communications
  • research scientist, aerospace
  • research scientist, remote sensing
  • nuclear physicist
  • optics physicist
  • plasma physicist
  • solid state physicist
  • astrophysicist
  • cosmologist
  • experimental physicist

The Person

December 4, 1945
Sault St. Marie, Ontario
Other Interests
Certification in scuba diving, parachuting, and holds a private pilot’s license. She enjoys photography, biking, hot air ballooning, roller blading, and flying.
Neurobiologist, Astronaut
Canadian Space Agency
  • BSc University of Guelph, 1968
  • MSc University of Western Ontario, 1971
  • PhD University of Toronto, 1974
  • MD (neurology) McMaster University, 1977
  • Officer of the Order of Canada and many other awards.
Last Updated
September 16, 2015

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