Dr. Robert Thirsk has flown on two space missions as a member of the Canadian Space Agency’s astronaut corps. He first flew aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1996 with six international crewmates as part of the Life and Microgravity Spacelab Mission. His second flight in 2009 was a six-month expedition aboard the International Space Station. Thirsk and his five international crewmates performed multi-disciplinary research, robotic operations, and maintenance of Station systems. Born and raised in western Canada, Thirsk received degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Calgary and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also holds a Doctorate of Medicine from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Thirsk is a Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Calgary, and a strong promoter of an economy based upon exploration and innovation. He encourages youth to build their dreams upon a foundation of advanced skills and lifelong learning.