Québec astronaut Julie Payette recently gave the National Assembly the Québec flag that traveled with her on her latest space mission last July. After orbiting the earth 248 times and travelling 10,537,748 km in two weeks, the Fleurdelisé, as the Québec flag is called, ended its journey at the Parliament Building in Québec City.
“We have in our midst an astronaut who is making major contributions to life in Québec and the advancement of space exploration. And, with the return of this flag from space, an exceptional page has been added to the history of our Fleurdelisé,” said Yvon Vallières, President of the National Assembly.
Astronauts are allowed to bring a few items with them on their space missions: the Québec flag was part of a selection of objects that hold special meaning for both Ms. Payette and the Canadian space program.
Julie Payette was Chief Astronaut at the Canadian Space Agency from 2000-2007. She took part in her first mission in 1999 aboard the Shuttle Discovery. She is a member of the NASA space team and holds the position of CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator) at Mission Control Center in Houston.