Former Astronaut Julie Payette Named Next Governor General of Canada

By Carmarlena Murdaca

Former Astronaut Julie Payette Named Next Governor General of Canada
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has named Julie Payette, the first Canadian to board the International Space Station and the country's former chief astronaut, as Canada's next governor-general.

Julie’s appointment was formally announced Thursday by the Prime minister, and the 53-year-old from Montreal was emotional as she reflected on what’s ahead. “This is a very great honour for me and for my family, for my friends and for my colleagues here around the country, on the planet and even a few outside the planet,” she said from the Senate foyer after her appointment was announced.

She will be taking over from Governor General David Johnston, whose term expires in September. “Ms. Payette’s life has been one dedicated to discovery, to dreaming big and to always staying focused on the things that matter most,” the Prime minister said. “These truly Canadian traits, along with her years of public service, make her unquestionably qualified for this high office.”

Julie was the first Canadian female to board the International Space Station in 1999. She went on a second space flight in 2009.

Along with her corporate and board experience (through her time at the Canadian Space Agency), she also has military experience – Julie qualified as a military jet captain in 1996 after logging hundreds of hours of flight time on the CT-114 Tutor jets, the same ones flown by the Snowbird team.

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