Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Nicole Stott

NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, the newest member of the Atlantis crew, is celebrating her 47th birthday today aboard the International Space Station.

Stott, a Clearwater, Fla.-native and graduate of the University of Central Florida in Orlando and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, is finishing a three-month tour on the station.

She officially switched from the station's Expedition 21 crew to the Atlantis crew after the shuttle docked Wednesday.

Stott is a former Kennedy Space Center shuttle program engineer who once oversaw the preparations of Endeavour for flight. The mother of one son became an astronaut in 2000.

She is the third former KSC employee-turned-astronaut to fly in space, following Kay Hire and Joan Higginbotham.

Stott flew to her station assignment aboard shuttle Discovery, which launched Aug. 28 and docked Aug. 30.

Her trip home on Atlantis will be the last by a station resident on a shuttle. Until a new U.S. vehicle is ready, they'll taxi to and from the outpost on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

You can follow her Twitter posts here.

IMAGE NOTE: Above, on Oct. 2, NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, Expedition 20/21 flight engineer, is pictured near the Mice Drawer System (MDS) in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. Below: On Oct. 1, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk (left), NASA astronaut Nicole Stott and European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, all Expedition 20 flight engineers, pose for a photo near the galley in the Unity node of the International Space Station.

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