Nicole Stott is a NASA veteran which includes two spaceflights and 104 days spent living and working in space on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.
Astronaut, aquanaut and artist, Nicole Stott was the first astronaut to paint in space. She has dedicated her life to sharing the beauty of space — and earth — with others. A NASA veteran, her experience includes two spaceflights and 104 days spent living and working in space on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. She is also a NASA Aquanaut and the holder of the women’s world record for saturation diving.
On stage, Nicole combines her spaceflight experience and artwork to inspire audiences to stress the importance of our planetary community and environment, her renaissance approach to education and wellness, and the surprising interplay between science and art.
Nicole first joined NASA at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in 1988 as an Operations Engineer in the Orbiter Processing Facility. During her time at KSC, she held a variety of positions within NASA Shuttle Processing, helping prepare Space Shuttles to safely carry NASA astronauts to space. During her last two years at KSC, she was the NASA Project Lead for the ISS Hardware Integration Office and helped prepare the major structure of the space station to fly to space.
In 1998, Nicole joined the Johnson Space Center team as a member of the NASA Aircraft Operations Division, where she served as a Flight Simulation Engineer flying on the Shuttle Training Aircraft and helping train astronaut pilots to land the Space Shuttle.
Selected as a mission specialist astronaut by NASA in 2000, Nicole successfully completed all of the astronaut candidate training, performed a variety of technical assignments in support of the ISS and Space Shuttle programs, and successfully completed advanced spaceflight readiness training before her first flight assignment.
Before flying to outer space, Nicole went underwater as a crew member on the NEEMO 9 mission (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) where she lived and worked with a six-person crew for 18 days on the Aquarius undersea research habitat, and she still holds the women’s world record for saturated diving.
In 2009, she launched on her first spaceflight to the International Space Station with the crew of Discovery STS128 — she participated in the first spacewalk of that mission; she was the first person to fly the Canadarm to grapple a free-flying HTV cargo vehicle; and, after 91 days living and working on the ISS, she returned on Atlantis STS-129, becoming the last Expedition crewmember to return to Earth on the Space Shuttle.
While she was still living on the ISS during her first spaceflight, Nicole was assigned to her second spaceflight, STS-133. STS-133 was originally scheduled as the final flight of the Space Shuttle program, and was the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery.
A heavily decorated astronaut and engineer, Nicole is the recipient of NASA Space Flight, Distinguished Service, and Exceptional Achievement Medals; the Russian Medal of Merit for Space; Florida Aviation Hall of Fame Inductee; and Distinguished Excellence Awards from her alma maters Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the University of Central Florida. She is also an instrument-rated private pilot.
Nicole retired from her 27-year career with NASA in 2015, and embarked on her next adventure as an artist and SciArt Education advocate. Combining her artwork and spaceflight experience, she is also actively working to inspire students, educators, and the general public interest in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) topics.