National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data


JULIE PAYETTE - Interview - Julie on YouTube

Astronaut, Canadian Space Agency

PERSONAL DATA: Born October 20, 1963, in Montréal, 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 Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Piacere Vocale in Basel, Switzerland, and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto. She is married and has two children.

EDUCATION: Attended primary and secondary school in Montréal, 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, Montréal. Master of Applied Science - Computer Engineering (1990) from the University of Toronto.

ORGANIZATIONS: Member of l’ Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec. Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Queens University Board of Directors. Governor-in-Council for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Les Amies d'affaire du Ritz.

SPECIAL HONORS: Received one of six Canadian scholarships to attend Atlantic College in Wales, U.K. (1980). Greville-Smith Scholarship (1982-1986), highest undergraduate award at McGill University. McGill 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). Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Pléiade de la francophonie (2001). Ordre national du Québec (2002).

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).

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/Nortel in Montréal (1992).

In June 1992, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) selected Ms. Payette from 5,330 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 CT-114 “Tutor” 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 1,300 hours of flight time.

Ms. Payette was Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency (2000-2007).

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.

From September 1999 to December 2002, Ms Payette was assigned to represent the Astronaut Corps at the European and Russian space agencies, where she supervised procedure development, equipment verification and space hardware processing for the International Space Station Program.

Ms. Payette next served as a CAPCOM (Spacecraft Communicator) at Mission Control Center in Houston and was Lead CAPCOM for Space Shuttle mission STS-121. The CAPCOM is responsible for all communications between ground controllers and the astronauts in flight.

Ms. Payette was assigned to the crew of STS-127, ISS Assembly Mission 2J/A, that successfully delivered the Japanese-built Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) and the Experiment Logistics Module Exposed Section (ELM-ES) to the International Space Station in July 2009.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: Julie Payette flew on Space Shuttle Discovery from May 27 to June 6, 1999 as a crew member of STS-96. During the mission, the crew performed the first manual docking of the Shuttle to the International Space Station (ISS), and delivered four tons of supplies to the Station. Ms. Payette served as a mission specialist, was responsible for the Station systems, supervised the space walk and operated the Canadarm robotic arm. The STS-96 mission was accomplished in 153 orbits of the Earth, traveling more than six million kilometers in 9 days, 19 hours and 13 minutes. Ms. Payette was the first Canadian to participate in an ISS assembly mission and to board the Space Station.

August 2009

This patch commemorates Julie Payette's participation in mission STS-127 to the International Space Station. The central element is a magnificent image of the Earth taken from space. A robotic arm spells out the astronaut's name in electronic circuitry. It not only represents Canadian successes in space robotics but also Julie Payette's duties on this mission. She will be operating three different robotic arms: Canadarm, Canadarm2 and a Japanese arm.

Julie Payette, ing

Astronaut and Engineer