Julie Payette was TA (teaching assistant) of my University of Toronto Computer Science CSC258 class. So I am very excited to hear that she will have her *second* space flight and be one of the two Canadian astronauts to visit space station in 2009. (note1: STS-127, note2: check out this cool compilation YouTube video clip).
Few years ago (May 2003) I sent Julie a personal note via the Canadian Space Agency (which got accidentally misplaced) telling her how I remembered her when we were at UofT. In 2005, CSA magically found my misplaced note and Julie was very nice in sending me two autographed pictures (see above) which I’ve hung proudly on my wall (while hanging none of my university diplomas).
P.S. You see, I remember Julie as charming and cute but she was quite strict as a TA too. One day she even gave me an impromptu French test! Yes, a French test in a computer science lab! So one day I wore a turtleneck with the word “monsieur” embroidered in the middle. I was lucky that I hadn’t totally forgotten the word “monsieur” means “Mr.” in English. Julie, a French Canadian, must have thought how strange to see someone put the French word for “Mr.” on a turtleneck? (Thanks to the months of Alliance Française de Hong Kong classes I took in high school for rescuing me from looking like an idiot!) :)
P.P.S. Here is a YouTube clip of a NASA Q&A with Julie Payette.
Sept 16, 2011 update: CBC News: “Astronaut Julie Payette, VANOC’s Furlong among Order of Canada recipients”
Jan 8, 2017 update: CBC Witness (1993) “Space For Four (1993)”
July 13, 2017 update: CBC News, Former astronaut Julie Payette to be Canada’s next governor general – 53-year-old Montrealer to succeed David Johnston as Queen’s representative #epic #awesome