David Saint-Jacques was speaking at the Conversation with an Astronaut programme at the Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, recently.When he was a young child, said Saint-Jacques, he had seen a photo of the Earth from the Moon, which had changed his view of the universe and led him to dream of seeing the earth from space for himself.
A doctorate in astrophysics, David Saint-Jacques also studied medicine and began working as a family physician in remote places in Canada, practising isolated medicine.
He had completed his family medicine residency at McGill University in Montreal, Canada (2007), where his training focused on first-line, isolated medical practice.His work as a medical doctor and as the Co-chief of Medicine at Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq, Nunavik, an Inuit community on Hudson Bay, was mostly in isolated medical practice.
He also continued to participate in various geology, glaciology and other scientific expeditions.
He moved to Houston (US) in 2009 for training after he was selected by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
At that time, there were 14 members in the 20th NASA astronaut class, out of which only four, including Saint-Jacques, remain as active members.
He was assigned to the Robotics Branch of the NASA Astronaut Office, after he completed basic training and then acted as Support Astronaut for International Space Station (ISS) Expedition.
Among the various training imparted to them, meeting challenges was a key component.
In order to be prepared to face any challenging situation that may arise suddenly in space, they receive training to be alert and well prepared so that there is no scope of making any errors, said Saint-Jacques.