(ORDO NEWS) — Bjarni Triggvason, one of six Canadian astronauts who flew on NASA’s Space Shuttle, has died at the age of 76.
The news of Tryggvason’s death on Monday (April 5) was first spread online by former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, who trained with Tryggvason as part of the US Space Agency’s 1998 international astronaut candidate team.
“R.I.P. It was an honor to train and work with you,” Melvin wrote on Wednesday (April 6). “Condolences to the family. Much love.”
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) subsequently confirmed Triggvason’s death in a statement posted on social media.
“It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that we have learned that former CSA astronaut Bjarni Triggvason has passed away,” the agency wrote. “He applied the highest standards in everything he undertook.”
Triggvason’s only flight into space preceded his training with Melvin. Selected by the National Research Council of Canada in 1983 as one of the country’s first six astronauts, Tryggvason launched as a payload specialist on NASA’s STS-85 crew in August 1997.
The 12-day mission deployed and retrieved a free-flying satellite (CRISTA-SPAS-2) that studied changes in the Earth’s atmosphere, and tested the predecessor of the remote manipulator system, or robotic arm, which is now outside the Kibo module. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on the International Space Station.
Tryggvason’s primary mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery was to operate and evaluate the Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount (MIM), a small Canadian-designed instrument designed to isolate payloads and experiments from any disturbances caused by propulsion or crew activity.
As an upgrade of a similar device installed and successfully used on the former Russian space station Mir, MIM used magnetic actuators to levitate and isolate individual experiments. It was later modified for use aboard the International Space Station.
On the seventh day of the flight, mission control woke Triggvason and five crew members with the song “Good Vibrations”
“The fact that I was working on my own science experiments was really, really good,” Triggvason said in a 2015 interview with Canadian news magazine Macleans. “I decided to see how liquids would behave in space.
There are many experiments in which liquid is an element. I ended up developing an electromagnetic levitation platform that flew on the Russian space station, flew during my flight. I also participated in the development of another platform currently on the International Space Station.
Landing near the launch site at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Triggvason spent a total of 11 days, 20 hours, 28 minutes and 7 seconds in flight, making 185 revolutions around the Earth.
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