One of Canada’s two female astronauts, Julie Payette was a crew member on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1999. During that historic flight, she was the first Canadian to participate in the International Space Station assembly.
Born in Montreal, Payette always dreamed of one day becoming an astronaut, despite the history of male dominance in that particular line of work. She graduated in 1986 from McGill University and went on to earn a master’s in applied science from the University of Toronto on a Massey Scholarship. In the early nineties Ms. Payette was among four candidates chosen by the Canadian Space Agency for the astronaut training program.
By 1994 she had earned her jet capacity, her military instrument rating and a multi-engine commercial pilot’s license and deep sea diving certificate when she was awarded the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers distinction for exceptional achievement by a young engineer.