Julie Payette, Canadian astronaut Julie Payette Biography

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Julie Payette is a famous astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency. Before she joined the Canadian space program in 1992, Julie worked as a computer engineer doing research in speech processing and understanding natural language. In addition to her astronaut training program, she participates in the development of the Mobile Servicing System for the International Space Station. Julie is a technical advisor for the design of its ground-control station, and she manages several projects designing advanced operator-machine interfaces for use in space.

In 1980, at the age of 16, Julie received one of six Canadian scholarships to attend the United World International College of the Atlantic in South Wales, United Kingdom. After her scholarship in the UK, Julie attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec where she received a bachelor of electrical engineering degree and many awards. Following that, she worked as a technical advisor for IBM Canada, supporting activities involving advanced UNIX workstations, vector processing applications, and other science and engineering products.

Julie Payette, Canadian astronautIn 1988, Julie began graduate school at the University of Toronto, Ontario where she became involved in high-performance computer architecture projects and worked part time as a teaching assistant. After receiving her master of applied science degree, Julie worked for a year as a visiting scientist in the Communications and Computer Science Department of the IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland before returning to Montreal to join the Speech Research group of Bell-Northern Research. She is now working toward a doctoral degree in electrical engineering at McGill University, Montreal. Her research topic is entitled "Voice Control of Non-critical Systems in Space."

As part of her training as an astronaut, Julie became a pilot and holds a multi-engine commercial license. She is also an active member of the 99s, an international women pilots' organization.

Julie's interests include running, skiing, playing racquet sports, scuba diving, and competing in triathlons. She is a trained pianist and regularly sings as a soprano with early music ensembles. She also speaks French, English, and Italian, can converse in Spanish and German, and is learning Russian. Julie is married to a university professor who shares her passion for sports.

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