McGill engineering student Mustapha Kerouch and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut and McGill alumnus Dr. Dafydd (Dave) Williams shared the spotlight at a news conference March 2 as they proudly unveiled Mr. Kerouch’s winning submission to the Mission STS-118 Space Patch Design Contest.

Mr. Kerouch, 20, who grew up in Montreal, said, “It is not a common thing in someone’s career as a student to be given the chance to put his talent at the service of such a great enterprise and to help represent the involvement of an entire country.”

McGill and the CSA held the contest late last year after Dr. Williams chose to highlight his McGill connection by having a current student design his Canadian mission patch for his space flight aboard the Shuttle Endeavor on June 28th.

Mr. Kerouch’s winning design celebrates Canada’s role in STS-118, the 22nd assembly mission of the International Space Station. It depicts Dr. Williams installing the S5 truss segment to the backbone of the International Space Station. It also marks his role as the only Canadian to perform three spacewalks in support of a human space mission. The Station’s stylized solar arrays symbolize the infinite quest for knowledge through exploration. The inclusion of waves in the design draws attention to Dr. Williams’ experience as the first Canadian to be both an astronaut and an aquanaut. The STS-118 appears just above the MS in WILLIAMS to underscore his role as Mission Specialist. The caduceus, symbolizing medicine, appearing in Dr. Williams’ name represents his pride in being a physician and his role as crew medical officer during the flight.

Along with his unique mission patch, Dr. Williams will be taking McGill’s Coat of Arms and a memento from the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, where he spent much of his time while studying medicine at McGill, into space. Mr. Kerouch is invited to view the launch of STS-118 from the Mission Control Room at the CSA this summer.

Dr. Williams, a specialist in emergency medicine, graduated from McGill with a BSc’76 (Biology), an MSc’83 (Physiology), a Doctorate in Medicine and Master of Surgery in ’83. In 1992 the CSA selected Williams as one of four successful candidates from a field of over 5,000 applicants to begin astronaut training. In 1998, Dr. Williams participated in STS-90 as Mission Specialist 3 aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. From July 1998 until September 2002, he was Director of the Space and Life Sciences Directorate at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, the first non-American to hold a senior management position within NASA.

In 2001, he became an aquanaut through his participation in the joint NASA-NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) NEEMO 1 mission, becoming the first Canadian to have lived and worked in both space and in the ocean.

Dr. Williams is one of three McGill graduates who have participated in space missions: Julie Payette, BEng’86, is the second Canadian woman to have flown in space and the first to board the International Space Station. Engineer and medical doctor Robert Thirsk, MDCM’82, flew on the space shuttle Columbia as a payload specialist in 1996. On the Web:

Canadian Space Agency