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Julie Payette, Canadian Astronaut

October 20, 2012 by  

Julie Payette, Canadian Astronaut, Personal Profile: Born October 20, 1963, in Montreal, Quebec, Ms. Payette enjoys running, skiing, racquet sports and scuba diving. She has a commercial pilot license with float rating. Ms. Payette is fluent in French and English, and can converse in Spanish, Italian, Russian and German. She plays the piano and has sung with the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal, the Piacere Vocale in Basel, Switzerland, and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto. She is married to William (Billie) Flynn, test pilot and LCol (ret) from the Canadian Air Force. They have two children.

Education: Attended primary and secondary school in Montreal, Quebec. International Baccalaureate (1982) from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, UK. Bachelor of Engineering, Electrical (1986) cum laude from McGill University, Montreal. Master of Applied Science – Computer Engineering (1990) from the University of Toronto.

Organizations: Member of l’Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec and the International Academy of Astronautics. Member of the Board of Canada’s “Own The Podium” Olympic High Performance Program. Former Governor-in-Council for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and member of the board of Queen’s University. Les Amies d’affaires du Ritz.

Special Honours: Received one of six Canadian scholarships to attend the Atlantic College in Wales, UK (1980). Greville-Smith Scholarship (1982-1986), highest undergraduate award at McGill University. McGill University Faculty Scholar (1983-1986). NSERC post-graduate Scholarship (1988-1990). Massey College Fellowship (1988-1990). Canadian Council of Professional Engineers; distinction for exceptional achievement by a young engineer (1994). NASA Space Flight Medal (1999). Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Pléiade de la francophonie (2001). Knight of l’Ordre National du Québec (2002). NASA Space Flight Medal (2009). University of Ottawa Distinguish Canadian Leadership Award (2009). Carried the Olympic flag in the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. Engineers Canada Gold Medal (2010), highest recognition of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. Inducted in the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame (2010). NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2010). Officer of the Order of Canada (2010).

Honorary Degrees: Queen’s University (1999); University of Ottawa (1999); Simon Fraser University (2000); Université Laval (2000); University of Regina (2001); Royal Roads University (2001); University of Toronto (2001); University of Victoria (2002); Nipissing University (2002); McGill University (2003); Mount Saint Vincent University (2004); McMaster University (2004); University of Lethbridge (2005); Mount Allison University (2005); University of Alberta (2006); York University (2010); University of Waterloo (2010); Concordia University (2010).

Experience: : Before joining the space program, Ms. Payette conducted research in computer systems, natural language processing and automatic speech recognition. She worked as a system engineer with IBM Canada (1986-1988); research assistant at the University of Toronto (1988-1990); visiting scientist at the IBM Research Laboratory, in Zurich, Switzerland (1991) and research engineer with BNR/Northern in Montreal (1992).

In June 1992, the Canadian Space Agency selected Ms. Payette from 5330 applicants to become one of four astronauts. After her basic training in Canada, she worked as a technical advisor for the Mobile Servicing System (MSS), an advanced robotics system contributed by Canada to the International Space Station.

In preparation for a space mission assignment, Ms. Payette obtained her commercial pilot license, studied Russian and logged 120 hours as a research operator on board reduced gravity aircraft. In April 1996, Ms. Payette was certified as a one-atmosphere, deep-sea diving suit operator. Ms. Payette obtained her military pilot captaincy on the Tutor CT-114 ”Snowbird” jet at the Canadian Air Force Base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in February 1996. She obtained her military instrument rating in 1997. She has logged more than 1300 hours of flight time. Ms. Payette was Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency from 2000 to 2007.

NASA Experience: Ms. Payette reported to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in August 1996. She completed initial astronaut training in April 1998 and was assigned to work on technical issues in robotics for the Astronaut Office. In 1999 she flew on STS-96 and has logged over 465 hours in space. A veteran of two space flights, STS-96 (1999) and STS-127 (2009), she has logged over 611 hours in space.

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