Marc Garneau was born in Quebec, Canada, on February 23, 1949, the son of Brigadier General Andre Garneau. Marc attended primary and secondary schools in Quebec and in Saint-Jean sur Richelieu, Quebec, and in London, England. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from the Royal Military College of Kingston, Ontario in 1970, and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London in 1973. Garneau enlisted in the Canadian Navy in 1974 and attended the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College of Toronto from 1982 to 1983.
In 1984, Marc Garneau was chosen for astronaut training by NASA. Once training was complete, the Canadian Space Agency selected Garneau to represent Canada on U.S. shuttle missions as a mission specialist. The first Canadian in space, he was aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-4lG), launched from Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida on October 5, 1984. Garneau conducted experiments sponsored by the Canadian government that was related to medical, atmospheric, climatic, materials and robotic sciences. The Challenger landed safely at KSC on October 13, 1984, after 133 orbits of the Earth.
After retiring from the Navy as a captain in 1989, Garneau re-entered space aboard STS-77 Endeavour, launched from KSC on May 19, 1996. He oversaw the Commercial Float Zone Facility payload, developed through international collaboration between the U.S., Canada, and Germany. STS-77 landed safely at KSC on May 29, after traveling 4.1 million miles in 161 orbits.
Captain Garneau’s next spaceflight was STS-97 Endeavor, launched from KSC on November 30, 2000. From inside the shuttle, Garneau used the Canada arm, a mechanical arm that maneuvers a payload from the payload bay of the space shuttle orbiter to its deployment position and then releases it. The Endeavour landed at KSC on December 11, 2000, after traveling 4.47 million miles. In his three shuttle missions, Marc Garneau logged over 677 hours in space.
In February 2001, Dr. Garneau was appointed Executive Vice President of the Canadian Space Agency. He was named President of the Canadian Space Agency on November 22, 2001. In 2003, he was installed as the chancellor of Carleton University. In August of that year, Captain Garneau was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor. In 2005, he resigned from the Canadian Space Agency. He remains active in Liberal Party politics.
Marc Garneau is a recipient of the Prix Montfort en sciences (2003); the Golden Jubilee Medal of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (2002); NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal (1997); NASA Space Flight Medals (1984, 1996, and 2000); the Canadian Decoration (1980); the Athlone Fellowship (1970); and the National Research Council (NRC) Bursary (1972). Asteroid 14094 Garneau is named in his honor.