Employees at the Canadian Space Agency in St. Hubert welcomed astronaut Julie Payette back home with thunderous applause on Friday.

Payette was part of the last shuttle mission to the International Space Station and spent 16 days in orbit.

On her last day before a much-needed holiday, Payette said she's proud of her 16-day stay last month aboard the station.

She talked about one of the highlights of the mission -- the first meeting in space of two Canadian astronauts. Astronaut Bob Thirsk was on the station with Payette.

As the crew's robotic arm expert, Payette operated three arms during the mission: the station's Canadarm2, the shuttle's Canadarm, and the Japanese arm.

The mission was Payette's second, having spent time at the ISS in 1999 during a mission with the space shuttle Discovery.

This time around, the crew aboard the shuttle Endeavour helped install new components to the $1-billion lab, along with fresh batteries. They also brought with them a selection of spare parts for the lab.


Payette displayed some of the 8,000 photos that were taken during the mission.

Aside from her robotics duties, she also doubled as the station's photographer.


Payette also showed off some of the food from a Canadian dinner that she and Thirsk fed to the crew.

The menu included maple syrup, beef jerky from Alberta and Salmon jerky from the east coast.

She also took a Maurice (Rocket) Richard jersey into space.