Old Boys' News

Space Week: Mark Pathy ’86 Makes History

Mark Pathy, astronaut.

The dream became a reality for the Class of 1986 graduate when he and his three crew members were shot into space aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on Friday, April 8, 2022, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Commander Michael López-Alegría, Pilot Larry Connor, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Pathy made history as the first all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The group returned safely to Earth on Monday, April 25.

Getting ready for the mission required extensive commitment from the Old Boy, who spent more than 700 hours over a period of 10 months training in safety, health, ISS systems, launch site operations, and additional training for research and technology demonstration payloads.  

On orbit, he took part in a total of 12 science research projects in partnership with six Canadian universities and their investigators, including clinician-researchers at The Montreal Children’s Hospital and Child Health Research at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. 

He also successfully conducted the first ever two-way holoportation session from the ISS, connecting with Canadian astronauts Dr. Dafydd Williams and Joshua Kutryk on the ground from NASA’s Mission Control. 

Finally, Pathy also conducted Earth observation activities in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Western University. 

“Joining the Ax-1 mission to the International Space Station has provided me with a unique platform to contribute to science that aims to tackle important issues affecting life on Earth, as well as contribute to the new era of space exploration we have entered.”

“I experienced the wonders of space travel; of staring into space, literally; and of time spent aboard the ISS in the company of fellow astronauts from various missions, including my Ax-1 crew mates -- this was truly a life-altering experience that delivered well beyond my expectations. I return to Earth a changed person.” Quotes courtesy of Axiom Space.

A group of Selwyn House students experienced a historic Q & A period with Pathy and crew mate Eytan Stibbe on Thursday, April 14, thanks to a live feed from the International Space Station projected onto a giant screen in Coristine Hall. Also joining the call were Israeli students from the Ramon SpaceLab and the Space Start-ups program.

The students took turns asking the astronauts questions about his experience in space. Gasps and laughs were shared as the boys observed the effects of zero gravity while the two gentlemen spoke.
Senior School science teacher Kevin Boyle ’97 was grateful for the experience for the students, "Thank you to Old Boy George Adamopoulos '21 for establishing contact with Mr Pathy. It was through George's initiative to create a space club at Selwyn House and bring in high-profile guest speakers that the ISS linkup came to be. George’s bridge-building and willingness to keep in touch with Selwyn after graduating provided the school and students with a captivating, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."