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First Person: Dave Williams

Astronaut brings Canadian perspective to space travel

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Pique: What do you do in space when you are not working?

Williams: “Usually what we do if we are not busy working is look out the window. It is unbelievable. When you are there and you are looking out the window it is just so incredible it is really, really amazing.”

Pique: Do you get to exercise in space?

Williams: “Yes. We have a little cycle odometer, like a stationary bike at the gym, and I can honestly tell you I have cycled all the way around the world and it only takes me 90 minutes. Earth folks are a little slower. I am actually flying with one of Rick Hansen’s cycling gloves from when Rick went around the world.”

Pique: Have you thought of taking anything form the 2010 Olympics?

Williams: “It would be great to do that. To me what is exciting about the Olympics is that it is all about making dreams possible and having worked at the 1976 Olympics, when you are there and you get to talk to the athletes that sense of making their dreams possible is what we experience when we fly in space and it is just so incredible to be part of the whole thing.”

Pique: What excites you about this mission?

Williams: “What really excites me about this is (the message I want to give to kids). I… have kind of achieved my dreams but the message I would like to leave kids with is not necessarily that they have to be an astronaut, it’s more about finding their dream. For a lot of kids you ask them a question like, ‘so, do you have any dreams,’ and they look at you like… what are you talking about. I (tell them to find) what makes you passionate, what drives you, what makes you really excited, and then think about how you can pursue that dream and… achieve those goals.

So often in life when we talk to other people and we share our dreams people look at us and say, ‘no, no you can’t do that sort of thing. That is not a good idea.’ But really the whole message for kids is to find what you love doing, pursue it with incredible passion and desire and don’t take no for an answer. With good luck, patience, and persistence maybe it will all work out.”