Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency

July 31, 2009 11:24 ET

Canadian Astronaut Julie Payette Returns to Earth

Critical assembly mission ends with successful landing

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - July 31, 2009) - The remarkably successful STS-127 mission came to an end with a picture-perfect landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, at 10:48 a.m. EDT.

The 16-day mission was a robotics-intense mission with astronauts completing the installation of the platform outside the Japanese laboratory Kibo and replacing critical equipment on the International Space Station (ISS). All mission objectives were accomplished and five spacewalks were performed that totalled 30 hours and 30 minutes outside. Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Julie Payette operated three arms during the mission-the Station's Canadarm2, the Shuttle's Canadarm and the Japanese arm.

This mission also marked a milestone in Canadian history. On July 17, as Space Shuttle Endeavour docked to the ISS, two Canadians met in space and Payette was greeted by colleague astronaut Robert Thirsk. Thirsk arrived on the Station as part of the Expedition 20 crew in a Russian Soyuz rocket, which was launched on May 27, 2009.

In addition, a record number of 13 astronauts, representing all five partner agencies of the International Space Station, lived and worked together in space during this mission. During a downlink, on July 25, both Shuttle and ISS crews gathered to deliver a special message to the world on the partnership of the ISS. Julie Payette, representing Canada, said: "We (in Canada) are thrilled to be part of this incredible team that has built this outstanding first-class laboratory in the harshest environment possible we can imagine. We are honoured to be part of this team and will continue to do so."

"Canada is a strong player not only because of its renowned robotic expertise, but also because of the excellence of the many Canadians who work in space exploration. The commitment and dedication of the Station and Shuttle astronauts inspire future generations of space explorers. Julie is truly a role model for our young Canadians", said Canadian Space Agency President Steve MacLean.

This was Payette's second spaceflight and her second visit to the International Space Station. Ten years ago, she was the first Canadian to step inside the Station. At the time, it was in its earliest stages of assembly. Now, the Station is almost complete and has a permanent crew of six astronauts living aboard. This was the 15th spaceflight by a Canadian astronaut and the 7th time a Canadian stepped inside the International Space Station. With NASA's Shuttle retirement set for 2010, Julie Payette will have been the last Canadian to travel to space aboard a Shuttle. Payette is part of an exclusive group of only eight Canadians to have flown to space.

For the latest information about Mission STS-127, visit the CSA Website at www.asc-csa.gc.ca.

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