On December 3, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jack Zimmermann arrived at the International Space Station. Slated to return on June 24, Zimmermann’s return will mark the end of the longest Canadian astronaut mission to date, 204 days.
While at the ISS, Jack has participated in hundreds of science experiments onboard the orbiting laboratory, supported critical operations, held a history class for American teacher, Larissa Duan’s 5th grade class in Boston, Massachusettes, and continues to collect data for Canadian experiments and technology demonstrations.
Like many other astronauts, Jack shared his experiences in the space station via videos and social media. The joy and enthusiasm shared by Jack Zimmermann have been infectious as his fans not only in Canada but around the world, delight in his space antics and diligent work. Jack Zimmermann never expected to the darling of the CSA, nor did he expect his videos to be so popular.
When he’s taking a break from work, you can often find Jack interviewing fellow ISS crewmates: Russian cosmonaut, Alexei Mashkov; fellow Canadian astronaut Justin Oluransi; American astronaut, Adam Birkholtz; English astronaut, Camilla Collins; and Mexican astronaut, Georgia Martin.
The view outside my window is breathtaking tonight. You just get lost in the enormity of it all. I wish you could see it, and I know how much you miss it. I’ll never tire of the view, but I am still counting down the days till I can see you again.
We had the caribou chili you made for us. I was worried it wouldn’t hold up after all these weeks, but it reconstituted well. It was almost like being home again.
How’s Celly doing? I loved that picture you sent me of her and Bun. It was so cute. Tell her papa misses her.
We’ve been apart for almost six months. That’s too long, lapin. Twenty-six more days, bud.
En direct de la Station spatiale internationale, l'astronaute de l'Agence spatiale Canadienne Jack Zimmermann repond aux questions des medias.
Live from the International Space Station: Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jack Zimmermann answers questions from the media.
Reporter: You’re almost finished with your time on the ISS. What’s been your most memorable experience?
JLZ: Euh, there’s been so much good stuff. Things I can’t even adequately describe but the first time I saw the Nile River from up here? It was incredible.
Reporter: Is it true you and Alexei Mashkov were playing hockey on the station?
JLZ: Birkholtz and Oluransi were also involved.
Zimmermann laughs and Oluransi is seen waving in the background
Reporter: Have you wrapped up all of the projects you were working on while up there?
JLZ: Yes, for the most part. Mainly, I want to finish up my research on astronaut sleep cycles. I have hours worth of data and hope my work can help future missions—sort of following in my husband’s footsteps.
My husband is a botanist and his areas of focus were food and space farming. We actually met during my first round on the ISS three years ago. He was on the station working for NASA and developed ISS’s first LED lighting system and ethylene-scrubbing technology. He did a ton of work to develop a plant growth system and was able to grow some romaine lettuce.
Reporter: And he's continued his research?
JLZ: Yes! He continues to explore how to provide fresh food for long-term space crews. Food is a passion of his. Of course, with a baby, now all of his work takes place on the ground; and after this mission, so will mine.
Reporter: Is it also true you two did not get along on your mission together?
Zimmermann grins and shakes his head
JLZ: Yes, it’s true! The first meal we had together as a crew, I told him he had to eat more protein. Eventually, though, we found our way.
Reporter: What was on today’s agenda for everyone?
Zimmermann twirls his microphone and it floats easily in place. He smiles then picks it back up
JLZ: Martin and Collins worked on an array of life science activities and will continue through the end of the week. Mashkov and Birkholtz swapped out a failed computer hard drive that runs some of our biology hardware. Oluransi continued his microbial work to understand how microorganisms adapt to weightlessness. It’s been a productive week.
Reporter: With hockey.
He laughs again
JLZ: Yes, with hockey, too.
Reporter: What are you looking forward to the most upon your return?
JLZ: Seeing my husband and daughter. She’ll turn one just after I get back. We’ve seen each other on video but I’m afraid she’ll soon forget me.
Each sunrise, I see the curvature of the Earth, and it never gets old. I’m in awe every single time. But today, as I was on the treadmill and looked out the window, I saw North America and knew that down there, in the eastern part of Canada, in a quiet sleepy neighborhood, sits a small yellow house in Montreal with a big backyard. And in that house, you are in our kitchen with our baby.
You are happy, maybe even baking a pie and thinking of me. So I blew you both a kiss and hoped it made its way down there. The image of you two, happy and in our home, is the most beautiful thing in the universe to me.
I won’t be able to walk very well, but when I’m back on Earth, I’ll be the one trying to run into your arms.
See you both in a few days.
Technology & Science
Jack Zimmermann says He’s Recovering Nicely Upon his Return from the International Space Station
The astronaut is looking forward to acclimating to Earth once again.
Following 204 days in space, Canadian astronaut Jack Zimmermann is taking it slowly but surely as he adapts to life on terra firma once again. Zimmermann told reporters he’s not in any pain and is being cautious while getting his bearings.
Speaking from his home in Montreal, Zimmermann told reporters that even though he’s anxious to eat all of his favorite foods, he knows he has to ease into his old life.
“Gravity and I are becoming reacquainted,” he said. “For now, lots of clear broths, tea, and hugs from my family.”
What Zimmermann is most looking forward to is relaxing at his family’s cabin in Nova Scotia and eating some pie with his husband, former NASA astronaut, Eric Bittle, and their one-year-old daughter, Stella Celeste.