Roberta Bondar OC O.Ont FRCP(C) FRSC (//; born December 4, 1945) is Canada's first female astronaut and the first neurologist in space. Following more than a decade as NASA's head of space medicine, Bondar became a consultant and speaker in the business, scientific, and medical communities.
Bondar has received many honours including the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, the NASA Space Medal, over 22 honorary degrees and induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
Dr. Roberta Bondar was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, on December 4, 1945. Her father is of Ukrainian descent and mother is of German descent. Roberta, as a child, enjoyed science. She loved the annual science fairs at her classes, and frequently set off experiments in her parents' basement as a child.
Bondar graduated from Sir James Dunn High School in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and holds a Bachelor of Science in zoology and agriculture from the University of Guelph (1968), a Master of Science in experimental pathology from the University of Western Ontario (1971), a Doctor of Philosophy in neuroscience from the University of Toronto (1974), and an Doctor of Medicine fromMcMaster University (1977).
In 1981, Bondar became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in neurology. Bondar also has certification in sky diving and parachuting. A celebrated landscape photographer, Bondar studied professional nature photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, California.
Bondar began astronaut training in 1984, and in 1992 was designated Payload Specialist for the first International Microgravity Laboratory Mission (IML-1). Bondar flew on the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery during Mission STS-42, January 22–30, 1992, during which she performed experiments in the Spacelab.Bondar giving a 2007 presentation on environmentalism
After her astronaut career, Bondar led an international team of researchers at NASA for more than a decade, examining data obtained from astronauts on space missions to better understand the mechanisms underlying the body's ability to recover from exposure to space.
She also pursued her interests in photography, with emphasis on natural environments. She is the author of four photo essay books featuring her photography of the Earth, including Passionate Vision (2000), which covered Canada's national parks.
Dr. Bondar has also been a consultant and speaker to diverse organizations, drawing on her expertise as an astronaut, physician, scientific researcher, photographer, author, environment interpreter and team leader. Respected for her expertise and commentary, Bondar has been a guest of television and radio networks throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is featured in theIMAX movie Destiny in Space, and has also co-anchored the Discovery Channel's coverage of space shuttle launches.
On June 28, 2011 it was announced that Bondar would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame and would be inducted on October 1 at Elgin Theatre in Toronto. She was the first astronaut to receive the honour.
In her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, the Roberta Bondar Park pavilion bears her name, as does the marina beside the park and the Ontario government building at 70 Foster Drive. Bondar has also been honoured with a marker on Sault Ste. Marie's Walk of Fame.
In 1996, the Dr. Roberta Bondar Public School was opened in Ajax, Ontario and Roberta Bondar Public School was opened in Ottawa, Ontario. In 2005, another public school named Roberta Bondar Public School opened in Brampton, Ontario. There are also Dr. Roberta Bondar Elementary School in Abbotsford, British Columbia, and Dr. Roberta Bondar Public School in Maple (Vaughan), Ontario.