*** Happy Birthday Julie Payette…!!! ***
Julie Payette is the second Canadian woman to have flown in space. She is an incredible woman of many talents. Not only is she an astronaut, but Julie is an accomplished musician who has sung with the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra Chamber Choir. She speaks Russian, German, Italian and Spanish as well as being fluent in English and French. This cool Canadian also has a commercial pilot license and approximately 450 hours of flight time on jet aircraft.
Julie Payette was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. After becoming an electrical and computer engineer and gaining work experience in various locations (including the IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland), Ms. Payette was selected in 1992 by the Canadian Space Agency to become an astronaut. Following in intensive training program she flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery in the spring of 1999. During the flight Julie Payette became the first Canadian astronaut to visit the Space Station and she operated the Canadarm robotic arm. She travelled about four million miles during her historic flight, before returning to earth and becoming Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency.
Ms. Payette currently works in Houston, Texas as a CAPCOM (Spacecraft Communicator) for the Mission Control Centre, NASA. She was a crew member for the STS-127, ISS Assembly Mission 2J/A, and blasted off to the International Space Station on July 15, 2009. Payette returned from a successful mission on July 31.