A Guide to Women in Canadian History

Home ·  About ·  Meet the Author ·  Contact · People ·  Gallery ·  Celebrate ·  History ·   Resources ·  News ·  Search
.Group Histories


Julie Payette (1963-)
Astronaut, engineer

Julie Payette
Julie Payette
(Copyright Canadian Space Agency; Courtesy of the Canadian Space Agency)

On July 13, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that former astronaut Julie Payette will be the next Governor General of Canada.

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 later worked 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.

Endeavour crew

STS-127 Crew, 2009
(NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Discover more

  • CSA - Interview with Julie Payette
    Includes the printed text of an interview with the astronaut as well as video clips. From the Canadian Space Agency.
  • Julie PayetteDiscovering Our Potential: Women in Engineering
    Streetwise Productions video, 1997. 27 min. Available from Moving Images Distribution. The film explores the non-traditional careers pursued by some interesting female engineers, including Canadian astronaut Julie Payette.
  • The Sacred Balance
    Videorecording (DVD), produced by Kensington Communications and Sacred Balance Productions, Inc. Toronto, c. 2003. Features David Suzuki, and includes an interview with Julie Payette. Also a television series of the same name.

    Video clips from YouTube:
  • In Their Own Words: Canadian Astronaut Julie Payette
  • Canadian Astronaut Julie Payette, speaking about plans for her return to the International Space Station in June 2009.
  • Excerpt from The Sacred Balance, Julie Payette talking to David Suzuki.

Julie Payette

Julie Payette


Home | About | Meet the Author | Contact | Site Map | Heroines | Biographies | Group Histories | Pictures | Cartoons | Posters | Stamps | Statues | Currency | Historic Sites | Women's History Month | Time Travel | This Month in History | Books | Shop | Classroom | Films&Videos | Related Links | Upcoming | Latest News

Copyright © 2009-2017 Merna M. Forster. All rights reserved.