Julie Payette was born in Montreal, Quebec, on October 20, 1963. She graduated cum laude from McGill University with a Bachelor of Engineering in 1986, and received her Masters in Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto four years later. Payette joined the NASA Johnson Space Center in August 1996 and has logged over 600 hours in space since then.
Payette was the first Canadian to participate in an ISS assembly mission and to board the Space Station. Over the course of her career in space exploration, she has served as a mission specialist, a flight engineer, and has helped to install scientific experiments.