Astronauts to land in Isle of Man

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NASA astronauts who crewed the historic final mission of the space shuttle Discovery will be visiting the island in July.

The six-day trip is being billed as a major coup for the island.

The astronauts will have a packed itinerary, including an appearance at the Tynwald Day ceremony at St John’s on July 5 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.

Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK said: ‘This promises to be an exciting and memorable occasion for the Isle of Man.’

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. She has worn an Ellan Vannin T-shirt, has flown a Manx flag and has listened to music by blues singer and guitarist Davy Knowles while on board Discovery.

Chris Stott, whose company ManSat is sponsoring the NASA visit, said: ‘Nicole is looking forward to introducing her fellow crew members to what she regards as her second home.’

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