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Most husbands might be a little nervous watching their wives blast off into space.

But Billie Flynn, who's married to Canadian astronaut Julie Payette, isn't your typical spouse.

"I would not say nervous is a sentiment in our family," the test pilot said in a telephone interview from Cape Canaveral, Fla. "You know what? She's not nervous [and]I'm not nervous."

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Mr. Flynn, who works for Lockheed Martin, added that his 45-year-old wife never gets the jitters when he goes on a high-risk mission.

"The reciprocation of that is true," he said. "There's no sense of that."

The rugged-looking Mr. Flynn expressed pride and excitement over Ms. Payette's launch this morning on a 16-day mission to the International Space Station.

There were no nerves among the couple's two boys either, but Mr. Flynn said Laurier, 5, and 15-year-old Brett "are wired and really excited."

"I expect they'll be cheering, 'Go, mama, go.' "

June will be a big month for Laurier. He'll turn 6 on June 21, while Ms. Payette is midway through her visit to the space station.

"It'll be quite a treat for the little one to have his mother in space on his birthday," added Mr. Flynn, whose 51st birthday was June 1.

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Mr. Flynn, a self-described "air force brat," spent most of his life on military bases in Canada, mainly in Quebec.

His father was a fighter pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Ms. Payette's parents are also at Cape Canaveral along with her oldest brother, Simon, 47, and sister Maude, 40.

"I think my family [and I]are very privileged because it's something that not a lot of people do in their life, being an astronaut," Maude said in an interview.

"Talking with Julie, we understand a lot of how it [the shuttle]works and the day-to-day work of an astronaut."

Maude added that she's emotional, but not nervous.

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"There's risk and we're conscious about it," she said.

"But the more information you have about the launch of a shuttle, I think the more it's demystified.

"When you know how it works, it minimizes the stress."

The astronaut with the long, curly hair will be travelling with six Americans, one of whom, Chris Cassidy, will be the 500th person in history to reach space.

When she arrives at the giant space lab on Monday morning, Ms. Payette will be greeted by fellow Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk.

It will be the first time Canada will have two astronauts on the space station at the same time.

Ms. Payette will have some family connections on the space station.

She'll be bringing along some t pure maple syrup from a family member in Perth, Ont.

"I have a cousin who makes maple syrup," Mr. Flynn said. "It happened to be what we gave to NASA to take up there."

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