, Shero, STEM, Woman's History

The Story of Roberta Bondar: First Female Canadian Astronaut


December 4, 1945 in Ontario, Canada, Roberta Bondar was born into a good home life. She was the second daughter of Edward Bondar, an office manager at the Sault Ste Marie Public Utilities Commission, and Mildred Bondar, a business and commerce teacher. Throughout her childhood, Bondar was extremely interested in space and science as a child which led her to pursue these subjects later in her life. 


Bondar has a B.Sc in zoology and agriculture, a M.Sc in experimental pathology, and a Ph.D in neurobiology. She also received postgraduate training in neurology and neuro-ophthalmology then became a fellow at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for neurology in 1981. In 1983, Bondar was chosen as one of the six people chosen to be the first six Canadian astronauts and began her training. 


Eventually, Bondar completed her training which then took her to NASA in Houston, Texas. In 1990, Bondar was chosen to be the prime payload specialist for the first International Microgravity Laboratory Mission. She conducted life-science and material experiments, and developed, along with the help with scientists from 16 other countries, experiments that she would later conduct in space. On January22, 1992, Roberta Bondar made history as the first female Canadian astronaut to visit space. 

Only three hours after lift-off, Bondar along with the other payload specialist started working. They had to work twelve-hour shifts so that they would complete all the experiments in time. Over the eight days they were in space, the payload specialist completed more than 40 experiments whose data would allow for the advancement and future of space travel. 

Bondar has always been interested in photography, which is what she does now that she has retired. She left the Canadian Space Agency in August of 1992 and started studying nature photography in California. She has published many books and chronicles, her first being Touching the Earth. This was a visual and written chronicle outlining the things she experienced while in space. 

Roberta Bondar has changed history as being the first Canadian woman to travel to space. She was able to take her life and do something great with it. She is a very important woman in the STEM field, which is a male dominated area of study. However, there are many opportunities for girls today to go into STEM fields. I encourage many young girls who are interested in either math or science to think about pursuing a future in STEM and help change the stigma against women in the fields of work. Help change the world.

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