David St-Jacques overwhelmed with first glimpses of planet Earth
Canadian astronaut David St-Jacques on Monday spoke to the press for the first time since he arrived at the International Space Station on Dec. 3.
At a press conference organized by the Canadian Space Agency in St-Hubert, St-Jacques said he is slowly getting used to micro-gravity.
As he left the Soyuz space capsule to enter the space station, St-Jacques said he was thunderstruck by his view of the earth.
WATCH: Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques says he’s slowly adjusting to life in space, since taking off for the International Space Agency last week. Global’s Phil Carpenter explains.
He said he was overwhelmed by the beauty of his first sunrise and the thin, blue contour of the planet Earth.
“In the Soyuz rocket, when we arrived in orbit, it was night. When I saw the outline of the earth, that little blue line on the horizon, it was just an incredible feeling,” St-Jacques told reporters.
Meeting the other astronauts living in the space station was also very emotional for the astronaut from St-Lambert, on Montreal’s south shore.
WATCH BELOW: David Saint-Jacques says he’ll ‘never forget’ first sunrise in orbit
The first and biggest challenge for St-Jacques is learning to deal with microgravity, the feeling of weightlessness that comes with being in space. “We train everywhere in the world, but we just can’t prepare for the feeling of weightlessness,” he said, continuing, “I made a few mistakes at first, but I’m trying not to hit myself.”
And because there is so little gravity, blood circulates differently through the body while in space.
“At first my face was all red and swollen, but with time the body gets used to it. I’m a little congested and it feels like when you’re a kid with your legs upside down.”
St-Jacques will be very busy for the next few weeks. He has just three weeks to learn all the intricacies of his new home before his predecessors return to earth.
WATCH BELOW: Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques describes bodily adjustments in space
“We have to absorb everything we can from them. All their learnings about life on board the space station must be transferred from one team to the next.”
St-Jacques will be involved in numerous medical and other scientific experiments while on board. Some will involve the physical impact of weightlessness on the astronauts, while others will deal with tele-medicine. Other research topics on the ISS include testing biomedical devices, research on bone osteoporosis, cardiovascular among others.The 48-year-old medical doctor says he has been training for years for this six-month space mission.
St-Jacques is accompanied by American astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.
WATCH BELOW: Saint-Jacques says ‘nothing’ prepares you for weightlessness in space
Three other astronauts, American Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Russian Sergey Prokopyev, and German Alexander Gerst, are scheduled to return to earth Dec. 20.
The last Canadian to visit the space station was Chris Hadfield.
— with Files from CP
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