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Clearwater astronaut will return to childhood haunt

CLEARWATER — Nicole Passonno Stott grew up here, learned about airplanes at the Clearwater Airpark and went on to become a space shuttle astronaut.

Today Stott will return to the airpark where she spent much of her childhood, for an 11 a.m. ceremony that is open to the public.

It's part of an open house at the airpark, in connection with Clearwater's 57th annual Fun 'N Sun Festival.

"It's wonderful," said airpark operations manager Barbara Cooper. "We're very proud of the fact that she comes back here."

Cooper said Stott has made other appearances at the airpark, but this is the first time she has been back since making her first space flight. She frequently visited the airpark with her late father, a pilot.

Stott, a Clearwater High graduate, blasted off aboard the shuttle Discovery in August, spent three months aboard the International Space Station, and returned to Earth in November. She is scheduled to fly on another mission later this year.

The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the airpark, 1000 N Hercules Ave. Other activities include helicopter and airplane rides, face-painting for children and a police dog demonstration. Although admission is free, there is a charge for airplane and helicopter rides.

Clearwater astronaut will return to childhood haunt 04/30/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 30, 2010 10:14pm]
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