Nicole Stott visits Tampa Bay’s History Center to tell her story about being a NASA Astronaut. Joined by Grayson Kamm, the two tell a remarkable story.
Nicole was originally born in Albany, New York but she considers her hometown to be Clearwater, FL. She graduated from Clearwater High School in 1980 and then went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 1987 and a Master of Science in Engineering Management, University of Central Florida, 1992.
Nicole began her career in 1987 as a structural design engineer with Pratt and Whitney Government Engines in West Palm Beach, Florida. She spent a year with the Advanced Engines Group performing structural analysis of advanced jet engine component designs.
Nicole did not always dream of becoming an astronaut, as she tells the audience. She was enjoying her work on the launch pad. It was her co-workers that convinced her that she would be an amazing astronaut, so she decided to take the test.
Nicole completed her first long-duration space flight as a Flight Engineer on International Space Station Expeditions 20 and 21 (August 28 through November 29, 2009). She launched to the International Space Station on Space Shuttle Discovery with the crew of STS-128 on August 28, 2009. She performed one spacewalk along with her STS-128 crew mate John “Danny” Olivas, with a total duration of 6 hours and 39 minutes.
During her tour of duty on the station, she participated in the first track and capture of the Japanese cargo vehicle HTV, conducted a wide variety of science and research activities, and performed maintenance of the space station systems. After logging 91 days in space, she returned on the Space Shuttle Atlantis with the crew of STS-129 on November 29, 2009.
Stott was the last expedition crew member to return to Earth on a space shuttle. Nicole completed her second space flight as a Mission Specialist on STS-133 (February 24 - March 9, 2011), which was the 39th and final mission for Space Shuttle Discovery. During the 13-day flight, the Discovery crew delivered the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) and the fourth Express Logistics Carrier (ELC), including a complement of critical spare parts and supplies to the International Space Station.
Nicole worked with Astronaut Michael Barratt, flying the space station robotic arm for the installation of the ELC-4 and PMM, which completed the assembly of the U.S. portion of the station. She also served as the onboard EVA crew member, directing the mission’s two space walks, which were performed by astronauts Alvin Drew and Stephen Bowen; and she served as Flight Engineer for entry. The mission was accomplished in 202 Earth orbits, traveling 5.3 million miles in 307 hours and 3 minutes.
Nicole explains to the audience that the hardest part of being an astronaut was the training. “Being away from my family for 3 weeks, then coming back, just to leave again, was hard. It was actually easier when I gone for a solid 3 months. But overall my family has always been super supportive, as they are even here tonight with me, my mom, sister, and son,” said Nicole.
Nicole was very humble and after the conversation she took pictures with the audience members and even with the staff at TBAE Network.
Nicole's lecture will be aired on TBAE later on in the year.