Robert Brent Thirsk

Robert (Bob) Brent Thirsk, biomedical engineer, astronaut (b at New Westminster, BC 17 Aug 1953). He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Calgary (BSc, 1976) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MSc, 1978), and he received an MD from McGill University in 1982. In December 1983, while a resident in family medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Montréal, he was selected to join NASA's ASTRONAUT program. He began training in February 1984, and he served as a back-up payload specialist to Marc GARNEAU for space shuttle mission 41-G, which flew 5-13 October 1984.

In April 1995 he was assigned to mission STS-78 on the space shuttle Columbia as a payload specialist. From 20 June-7 July 1996, Thirsk participated in the Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS) mission, an international research project of 41 experiments to study microgravity and its effects on the human body, on plants and animals, and on the physical and chemical behaviour of materials in space. Thirsk also led the Canadian-designed Torso Rotation Experiment (TRE), acting as researcher and subject for a study of the relationship between eye, head and body movements and motion sickness in astronauts.

Thirsk is a co-leader of an international group studying the redistribution of body fluids in astronauts while in zero-gravity. He has designed an "anti-gravity" suit that may help astronauts readapt to Earth's gravity. Thirsk is a director of the Canadian Foundation for the International Space University.

See alsoCANADIAN SPACE AGENCY.