Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Science Astrophysics & Space Science

Canadian Spacewalkers

Hadfield, MacLean and Williams Remember the Ultimate High Adventure

by (author) Bob McDonald

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Oct 2014
Astrophysics & Space Science, Aeronautics & Astronautics, Adventurers & Explorers
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2014
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Finalist for the 2014 Canadian Science Writers' Association's Science in Society General Book Award

There are astronauts, and there are spacewalkers. Astronauts leave earth's atmosphere in a spaceship. Spacewalkers don pressure suits and step outside into the universe.

Spacewalking is a physically exhausting, mentally rigorous endeavor. It’s so difficult, only three Canadians have ever succeeded: Chris Hadfield, Steve MacLean and Dave Williams. Chris Hadfield and Dave Williams are record breakers; Hadfield completed thefirst Canadian spacewalk and installed the Canadarm 2 on the International Space Station, while Williams holds the record forthe longest spacewalk by a Canadian. And Steve MacLean, Senior Research Affiliate at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and former head of the Canadian Space Agency, was one of Canada’s original six astronauts.

But what is it really like to step into that abyss; to leap out into space with only the thin fabric of your suit between you and the universe? In Canadian Spacewalkers, author Bob McDonald compiles each of the spacewalkers' perspectives and presents an extensive interview transcription -- a one-on-one with spacewalkers who tell tales of training underwater in the world's largest swimming pool, recount how they learned to use power tools in zero gravity while wearing bulky gloves and describe the moment when they opened the hatch and stepped outside.

McDonald, science journalist and simulator-spacewalker, also shares his own experiences with astronaut training: the almost- reality of simulators, the sensory deprivation of the spacesuit, and even a zero-g airplane ride where he experiences the wonder and giddiness of floating weightless.

Highly illustrated with stunning NASA photos, Canadian Spacewalkers will inspire, astound and surprise. This is the gripping first-hand story of unique adventurers -- in their own words -- who have gone where very few humans have had the privilege to go.

About the author

Bob McDonald has been the host of CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks since 1992. He is a regular science commentator on CBC News Network and science correspondent for CBC TV’The National. He has been honoured with the 2001 Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; the 2002 Sandford Fleming Medal from The Royal Canadian Institute; and the 2005 McNeil Medal for the Public Awareness of Science from the Royal Society of Canada. In November 2011, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2014, an asteroid designated 2006XN67 was officially named BOBMCDONALD in his honour. Bob lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Visit him on Twitter @CBCQuirks.

Bob McDonald's profile page


  • Short-listed, Canadian Science Writers' Association - Science in Society General Book Award
  • Short-listed, Lane Anderson Award

Editorial Reviews

"A science journalist and commentator on CBC News Network, he (McDonald) has received many honors for his work and when you read his book you will understand why as he takes you along on a trip that explains what it takes to be a spacewalker. The book is greatly enhanced by a hundred color photos. If space and science is your interest, this book is ideal."

Alan Caruba

"Prominent science journalist McDonald interviews all three [Canadian spacewalkers], and the book includes stunning images of their space walks..."

Other titles by Bob McDonald