Julie Payette


Julie Payette has a list of accomplishments that resemble a novel. She always wanted to be an astronaut and to learn to fly.

"You can imagine that when you are ten, twelve years old and you're growing up in a town in Canada and you're French Canadian and you're telling everybody "Hey, I'd like to be an astronaut one day." Then people pat you on the back, smile a little bit and say "Yeah, sure." And they hope that you're going to change your mind and find a more down-to-earth job, which is what I did eventually."

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Born Oct. 20, 1963, Montreal, Quebec.

Married to Francois Brissette of Montreal, Quebec



Payette is accomplished in more than just space and engineering studies. She is a singer and pianist having performed with the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra Chamber Choir, the Piacere Vocale in Basel, Switzerland, and with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra Choir in Toronto, Canada. She plays the flute as well.

"I also remember Toronto as a place where I was able to pursue many of my personal interests, ranging from sports to cultural activities. One of my most marking memories (besides participating in the annual climbing of the CN Tower stairs) was the privilege of singing with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra throughout my entire stay."

She flies jets and competes in triathlons, this being enough of an accomplishment for the average person, she has also been to space and since September 2000, is Chief Astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency.

"A given step, however small it may appear to one, may represent a great deal to another. Every hurdle one surpasses makes one grow. I am just glad I was given the opportunity, resources, and support to surpass the hurdles that came my way."



Courtesy of Prime Minister of Canada Web Site

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien with Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette, Ottawa, June 30, 1999

Her career with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) began in 1992 when she was selected from a group of 5330 applicants to fill one of four positions. She completed basic training and began work with the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) as a technical advisor.

She started training with NASA in 1996 to prepare for her first flight in 1999, the STS-96 Mission. Payette is the eighth Canadian in space, the second Canadian woman and the first to enter the International Space Station and contribute to its assembly.

"Success is a mixture of skills, competence, luck and hard work: with a bit of effort, I believe the world can be at our feet."

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Julie Payette, ing

Astronaut and Engineer