From space station to Rideau Hall: A timeline of Julie Payette’s eventful life and career

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Julie Payette is an astronaut, pilot, engineer, and one of Canada’s shortest-reigning Governors General, appointed in 2017. She was born in Montreal on Oct. 20, 1963, and has had a distinguished and eventful life and career.


Received a Canadian scholarship to attend the Atlantic College in Wales.


Obtained a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from McGill University and started work as a system engineer with IBM Canada.


Obtained a Master of Applied Science & Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto.


The Canadian Space Agency selected Payette to become an astronaut from 5,330 applicants. In preparation for a space mission assignment, Payette obtained her commercial pilot licence, studied Russian and logged 120 hours as a research operator onboard reduced gravity aircraft.


Obtained her military pilot captaincy for a Snowbird jet at a Canadian Forces Base.

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