On Sunday afternoon went to the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill, ON (suburb of Toronto) where Ukrainian astronaut Dr. Yaroslav (“Yarko”) Pustovyi was a guest speaker at an event put on by the AstroNuts Kids' Space Club in Toronto.
Dr. Pustovyi’s space career started in Ukraine in November 1996,when the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU) and NASA assigned him to be one of two payload specialists for the Collaborative Ukrainian Experiment to be flown aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. His more experienced partner, Leonid Kadenyuk, was chosen in 1997 to fly the shuttle. (More information here.)
Dr. Pustovyi then came to Canada as a team member of Canadian Arrow, a privately funded rocket and space travel project designed to take the first civilians into space.
The Arrow's original six X-Prize Astronauts included several seasoned military pilots. Dr. Pustovyi was the only member of the team with actual space training.
In November 2010 the president of Canadian Arrow determined that the time for tourist space travel had not yet arrived, and folded the company. In 2013 Sarnia’s Preferred Towing bought the rocket to display in front of its business. (Photos here.)
Dr. Pustovyi now lives in Barrie, Ontario, where he is co-founder and Vice President of Space 1 Systems Inc., a commercial spaceflight company, and the President of the Canadian Space Commerce Association.
In his talk for the kids at the Dunlop Observatory, he said that nowadays anyone can be an astronaut. All the technology that powers rockets is now in your smart phone! To succeed at reaching your goal to be an astronaut just requires determination.