Press Release

NASA astronauts to visit Isle of Man

By SpaceRef Editor
May 6, 2011
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NASA astronauts who crewed the historic final mission of the space shuttle Discovery will be visiting the Isle of Man in July.

The six-day trip is a major coup for the Island and reflects its growing importance as a centre of excellence in the space commerce and aerospace engineering sectors.

The astronauts will have a packed itinerary, including an appearance at the Tynwald Day ceremony at St John’s on July 5th and a series of talks to local high school students.

The visit is being co-ordinated by Chris Stott, the Isle of Man’s honorary representative to the space community and husband of NASA engineer Nicole Stott.

Nicole was part of the NASA team who embarked on the final flight of the Discovery in February this year, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.

All six members of the crew will be travelling to the Island, with Nicole being joined by Michael Barratt, Eric Boe, Stephen Bowen, Alvin Drew and Steven Lindsey.

Their visit will provide the Manx public with a rare opportunity to see working astronauts, hear about their experiences in orbit and learn how NASA technology has an impact on everyday life.

NASA receives thousands of requests for personal appearances by its astronauts, but can accommodate only a handful each year because of work commitments.

Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK said: ‘This promises to be an exciting and memorable occasion for the Isle of Man and I am sure that it will capture the imagination of local residents. The space industry is an important part of the Island’s increasingly diversified economy and the NASA visit will help to further enhance our international profile.’

President of Tynwald Noel Cringle added: ‘I am delighted that Nicole and the crew of the Discovery will be joining us for the annual Tynwald Day ceremony. It will be a wonderful combination of historic tradition and modern innovation and a fitting celebration after Nicole took a piece of Tynwald Hill into space earlier this year.’

American-born Nicole is an enthusiastic ambassador for the Isle of Man in space. In addition to her recent mission, she conducted a live video link from orbit with a group of Island high school students in October 2009. She has also worn an Ellan Vannin T-shirt, flown an Isle of Man flag and listened to music by local blues singer and guitarist Davy Knowles whilst on board the Discovery.

Chris Stott, whose company ManSat is sponsoring the NASA visit, said: ‘Nicole has always been thrilled by the interest and support shown by the people of the Island and is looking forward to introducing her fellow crew members to what she regards as her second home. We are putting together a busy schedule of events to ensure that as many people as possible have an opportunity to meet the astronauts. ManSat is truly honoured to support their visit.’

As well as attending a number of official engagements, the astronauts will also meet representatives of the local space and aerospace clusters, and have an opportunity to experience the Isle of Man’s unique culture and heritage.


Media enquiries: Alistair Ramsay 01624 686243

SpaceRef staff editor.