Who is Dr. Roberta Bondar?

Color photograph of Roberta Bondar in space suit next to Canadian flag.

NASA on The Commons / Flickr / Public Domain

Doctor Roberta Bondar is a neurologist and a researcher of the nervous system. For More than a decade she was NASA's head of space medicine. She was one of the six original Canadian astronauts selected in 1983. In 1992 Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman and the second Canadian astronaut to go into space. She spent eight days in space.

After her return from space, Roberta Bondar left the Canadian Space Agency and continued her research. She also developed a new career as a nature photographer. While Chancellor of Trent University from 2003 to 2009, Roberta Bondar demonstrated her commitment to environmental science and life-long learning and was an inspiration to students, alumni, and scientists. She has received over 22 honorary degrees. 

Roberta Bondar as a Child

As a child, Roberta Bondar was interested in science. She enjoyed animal and science fairs. She even built a lab in her basement with her father. She enjoyed doing scientific experiments there. Her love of science would be evident throughout her life.

Roberta Bondar Space Mission

Payload Specialist on Space Mission S-42 - Space Shuttle Discovery - January 22-30, 1992


December 4, 1945 in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario


  • BSc in Zoology and Agriculture - University of Guelph
  • MSc in Experimental Pathology - University of Western Ontario
  • PhD in Neurobiology - University of Toronto
  • MD - McMaster University
  • Internship in Internal Medicine - Toronto General Hospital
  • Post-graduate medical training at the University of Western Ontario, at Tuft's New England Medical Center in Boston and at the Playfair Neuroscience Unit of Toronto Western Hospital

Facts About Roberta Bondar, Astronaut

  • Roberta Bondar was one of the first six Canadians astronauts selected in 1983.
  • She began astronaut training at NASA in February 1984.
  • Roberta Bondar became chairperson of the Canadian Life Sciences Subcommittee for the Space Station in 1985.
  • She also served as a member of the Premier's Council on Science and Technology.
  • In 1992 Roberta Bondar flew as a payload specialist on the space shuttle Discovery. During the space mission, she conducted a complex set of microgravity experiments.
  • Roberta Bondar left the Canadian Space Agency in September 1992.
  • For the next 10 years, Roberta Bondar led a research team at NASA studying information from dozens of space missions to analyze the body's mechanisms for recovering from exposure to space.

Roberta Bondar, Photographer, and Author

Dr. Roberta Bondar has taken her experience as a scientist, doctor, and astronaut and applied it to landscape and nature photography, sometimes in the most extreme physical locations on earth. Her photographs are displayed in many collections and she has also published four books:

  • Landscape of Dreams
  • Passionate Vision: Discovering Canada's National Parks
  • The Arid Edge of Earth
  • Touching the Earth
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Munroe, Susan. "Who is Dr. Roberta Bondar?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/roberta-bondar-profile-511052. Munroe, Susan. (2021, February 16). Who is Dr. Roberta Bondar? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/roberta-bondar-profile-511052 Munroe, Susan. "Who is Dr. Roberta Bondar?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/roberta-bondar-profile-511052 (accessed October 7, 2022).