Status: Inactive; Active 1983-2012. Born: 1953-08-17. Spaceflights: 2 . Total time in space: 204.77 days. Birth Place: New Westminister, British Columbia.
Educated Calgary; MIT; McGill.
NASA Official Biography
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.
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.