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June 03, 1999 03:30pm
Sex in space OK, says Discovery's Payette
Source: CBC

(OTTAWA) -- Weightlessness should pose no obstacle to sex in orbit. That's the theory Canadian astronaut Julie Payette put forward in answering a reporter's question during a telephone news conference overnight.

"Right now, we are in the space station and there aren't any functions that we cannot perform because of weightlessness," Payette, speaking in French, told a reporter from the Canadian Space Agency in St. Hubert, Quebec. "So I don't see any reason why we would have any problems with any other biological functions," she said.
The news conference was the second of the day for Payette and her crew mates.

Tuesday, Canadian school children joined with the prime minister in speaking with the Canadian astronaut on board the U.S. space shuttle Discovery, in orbit working on the new International Space Station.

The children and Jean Chretien were at a special satellite linkup at the National Museum of Science and Technology in the nation's capital.

As her space ship orbited high above the earth, Payette took a few minutes to answer questions from students around Canada.

Grade 6 student Theresa Branch-Smith asked Payette how to become an astronaut.

"If you want to go into space one day then you first have to go to school, study hard, work hard, get a scientific degree and then apply to the space program when you are older," came the reply.

Asked if she was following the NHL playoffs, Payette said the crew receives e-mail about the news from ground controllers.

Other students want to know what it's like to be shot into space.

Payette told them it's a great ride, but shorter than she expected. It took only 8-1/2 minutes to get into orbit.

"Things started floating right away and I didn't expect such a sudden change. It was very dramatic," Payette said. "And, whoops, there we were, 8-1/2 minutes later in space."

The PM told the children Payette should be an inspiration to them.

"She is a young person who decided very long ago that was she was to be there some day. It proves to you that when you want to do something it's possible for you to do that," said Chretien.

To Payette, Chretien said all of Canada is proud of her.

Payette and the rest of the shuttle crew are scheduled to return to Earth Sunday.

Discovery docked with the US $60 billion space station Saturday. Following a spacewalk, the seven-member crew has been transferring 1,620 kilograms of equipment and supplies from its ship to the station.

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