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Oppel book rockets to top (of atmosphere)

Bob Thirsk training in a Soyuz Capsule simulator prior to his mission.

Kenneth Oppel, the prolific penner of children's and young adult's books like Sunwing, Firewing and many others, is now the proud author of a book that is at this very moment orbiting Earth aboard the International Space Station.

Oppel's book Airborn was included in the "official flight kit" of Bob Thirsk, the Canadian astronaut pictured above who was rocketed to the station in May for a six-month tour. He is the first Canadian to take part in a long-duration mission.

Thirsk, like other astronauts, is carrying various donated items in his official flight kit that he will return to the donors when he is once again on terra firma.

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In the case of Airborn, it was one of two Governor-General's Award-winning books donated by the Canada Council for the Arts in recognition of the fact that Thirsk is a descendant of the governor-general (Lord Tweedsmuir) who founded the awards. The other book is a French title, Deux pas vers les ├ętoiles, by Jean-Rock Gaudreault.

"Flying these nationally distinguished books into space serves as an important symbol of the value of literacy, education, and exploration through knowledge and imagination," the Canadian space Agency says on a web page about Thirsk's flight kit.

Thirsk has also taken some pretty cool music into space; you can see his playlist here.

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