Bon Voyage, Julie
It is with great anticipation that Canadians have been waiting for the space shuttle to fly again. (This Endeavour mission has been delayed four times already but just may go tonight.)
It has been even more news worthy here than in the US; in part because of Julie Payette one of Canada remarkable astronauts. On this trip to to the Space station Canada will have two astronauts together in the Space station for the first time as she joins Bob Thirsk who is already in there where he will be for a longer period of time conducting medical experiments.
Julie Payette is the Flight Engineer on this mission. Her role is crucial to the success of this construction mission for she will largely be in charge of the construction. She will operate the Canadarm robotic cranes (Canada's greatest contribution to the space station, without which it could not be built). She also will operate another one supplied by Japan, which I assume is to be used to install the outside platform for experiments Japan has created. She will manage the astronauts that will be outside the Space Station doing the construction work. The last time she was at the Space Station, (she was on the Discovery, the first crew to visit the station) she had a similar role which she describes in the video below.
You can read her daily journal entries here, http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/missions/sts-127/journal_today.asp
Julie Payette is a remarkable Renaissance woman. Her accomplishments are numerable. She is not only an engineer but a pilot, athlete, singer, musician, linguist, mother as well as an astronaut for many years. Read her NASA Biography and marvel at her accomplishments.
View this video and hear her speak in her own words of some of the things of the Space Program she finds interesting. I particularly like her saying what she found most surprising on her first mission.
In this video, I find Julie Payette's observations of the Earth from space. Not only is it spectacular to see as a unity but she marvels at how fragile it is, protected with a thin layer of atmosphere.
Besides her many accomplishments, Julie Payette is also charming and attractive and soft spoken with a French Canadian lilt in her voice. When she speaks she is reflective and the delight she feels for her career as an astronaut is evident. What a wonderful role model she is for young women who harbour dreams of accomplishments in life. If you have the time, it is well worth while to take the time, to watch the video of her address to the students at Simon Fraser University.
Even beautiful women with big hair can be intellectually brilliant, accomplished and focused in there lives. (I just couldn't resist this sexist comment. It is hard to overcome your upbringing)
Continued success, Madame Julie Payette, you make all Canadians proud.