Kitikmeot in space
Astronaut wants Cambridge Bay jerky in orbit
by Doug Ashbury
NNSL (Apr 06/98) - A little piece of the Kitikmeot could well be orbiting the Earth next year.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield wants to take some muskox jerky made by Kitikmeot Foods Ltd. up in the space shuttle next summer.
Hadfield and Colonel Pierre Leblanc, commander of Canadian Forces Northern Area, visited the community of Cambridge Bay last August. One of the pair's stops was to take a quick tour of the Kitikmeot Foods processing plant.
After the visit to Cambridge Bay, Hadfield took some of Kitikmeot Foods' tasty treats back to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Centre in Houston.
Then came the request.
Kitikmeot Foods manager Calvin Schindel said he was stunned by Hadfield's request.
"I just got the letter last week," Schindel told xxxNews/North.
Hadfield, in his letter, said the muskox jerky would serve as a "Canadian treat" for the astronauts.
He added that arctic char jerky might be a "bit too strong" but the muskox jerky would be "perfect."
Hadfield is training to install the first element of Canada's contribution to the International Space Station. Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to go to the Mir space station, will also be the first Canadian to venture outside the orbiter. On one of three space walks, he will install the Canadian-built robotic arm which will be used to assemble and service the space station.
And during the coming April 16 mission, Hadfield will be one of the direct voice links between the Johnson Space Centre and his colleagues in the space shuttle Colombia.
Schindel, who describes himself as a food technologist, recently won gold medals for his muskox and arctic char jerky as well as a silver medal for his caribou jerky at an Alberta competition. He has been with Kitikmeot Foods for six years and plans to move to Swift Current, Sask., later this year.
The plant is currently processing meat from 217 muskoxen harvested by the Ekaluktutiat Hunters and Trappers Association in Cambridge Bay.