A little over a month ago, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the country’s first female astronaut.
And it wasn’t just Trudeau who was celebrating: Canadian astronaut Peggy Whitson announced her first-ever flight in a Canadian space capsule earlier this week.
But Whitsons mission was far from a typical launch.
WhitsON and her crew will spend the next month in space for the first time.
Here’s a look at what we know about the first female spaceflight.
Whitons flight is expected to take place on July 13 and will include the usual launch and landing operations as well as a series of maneuvers designed to simulate Earth’s gravitational pull.
The Canadian Space Agency, which oversees Canada’s space program, said the flight will be a joint effort with the U.S. and Russia.
“There will be plenty of preparation,” said Justin Smith, chief of the Canadian Space agency.
“It will be one of the largest missions that we have done.”
What does it mean?
The space program is known for the challenges of making human missions to Mars, but this time around, Whitsont mission is expected in part to help ensure Canada can fly astronauts in orbit for long periods of time.
The next time we see Canadian spacefarers is when the country launches its next spacecraft, known as a launch vehicle, or SLS.
The SLS is designed to launch a spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and deliver it to the International Space Station.
It will carry six crew members and two astronauts.
Canadian Space is currently in the midst of a $7 billion contract with Boeing to build a new SLS rocket that is supposed to begin flying in 2024.
Whites flight will likely be the largest SLS flight ever.
In 2018, Whites crew was part of a launch of the maiden flight of the Space Launch System rocket, which is designed for long-duration missions.
That rocket has been used on previous launches, and the SLS program is now aiming to get the next launch to the station in 2021.
Whited will fly aboard the first SLS mission.
But she will also be working on an updated version of the SES-10 communications satellite.
SES10 is a communications satellite used by European Space Agency to provide high-resolution coverage of the Earth and other satellites in low Earth orbit.
The satellite’s data collection capabilities are being upgraded for the SIS mission, which aims to launch an Earth observation satellite.
The new SES 10 mission will use the upgraded SES satellite.
Whitted and her fellow crew members will be joined by four Russians, two Americans and two Canadians.
In addition to the crew of three, Whited is expected on-board the SPSS satellite for the next six months.