The Final Countdown: Fueling the Anticipation

by Jason Major on July 1, 2011

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An update on my NASA Tweetup adventure…

The world will be watching - and tweeting! – when Atlantis launches on July 8

The launch of the space shuttle Atlantis is just a week away, and with it the NASA Tweetup event of a lifetime. (Well, my lifetime anyway!) But it’s not just me who’s been having visions of shuttle plumes dancing in his head… there’s 149 other space tweeps (yes, that’s what we call ourselves) who are eagerly counting the days, hours and minutes until then.

Here’s what some of them are saying…

“Wicked excited! (says the Boston gal – who yes, now lives in the Midwest!)” – Leslie Berg

“I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it….” – David Parmet

“This has been a dream of mine since the first launch. I was so sad when I was unable to attend STS-134 with the delays and so excited when I found out that I could at least see the last launch paid to change my plane ticket to NYC for summer.” Dvora Geller

“It’s an honor to be chosen by NASA to be a part of the last flight in shuttle history.” – Heather Smith

“NASA has continued to fill the history books with their profound and inspirational achievements. I can’t believe I’ll witness another significant page being written for that book, in person, up close, on July 8th!! Bring it!!” – Justin Boddey

With people attending the Tweetup from not only all over the US but also all around the world, this is an awesome representation of the international attention that the final launch is getting.

Also, after some scouting about for the right contact person (thanks Susan!) I managed to get in touch with the metro editor at the Dallas Morning News and he assigned a reporter to cover my story. I had a phone interview this afternoon with her, and the story should be published next Tuesday! In addition they want to feature my Tweets on the news site live from the launch…I sure hope the 3G signal coverage isn’t overwhelmed!

Anyway by this time next week I and 149 others from around the world will be preparing for a very exciting morning… it’s going to be crazy, I’m sure, but totally worth it!

Stay tuned….

“I spend several moments a day suppressing the urge to freak right out over the fact that I’m going to be as close to going into space as I’ve ever been. There’s also a 9 year old in my head screaming SPACE SHUTTLE! all the time. It’s really distracting. I feel so lucky.” – Nicole KT Winchester

“Since the day I found out I was selected to attend the Tweetup, it’s been on my mind every minute of every day. I’m basically trying not to die before July 7th.” – Andres Almeida

“I can pretty much guarantee my reaction to seeing a space shuttle live, in person, will be, ‘Whoah.’ Followed shortly by, ‘That’s pretty.’” – Kara DeFrias

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Jason Major is a graphic designer, photo enthusiast and space blogger. Visit his website Lights in the Dark and follow him on Twitter @JPMajor or on Facebook for the most up-to-date astronomy awesomeness!

About 

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

Anonymous July 1, 2011 at 3:30 AM

God I hate Twitter. Way to capture the excitement of a shuttle launch – 140 characters of banal brainfart.

No offense Jason – amazing opportunity and I hope you have an absolute time of it, but I would rather drown in a tidal wave of diarrhea/vomit mixture than subject myself to a twitter account of a shuttle launch.

Anonymous July 1, 2011 at 5:47 PM

There are over 200 million people who would disagree with you, Astrofiend, including me. I’ve found that if you can’t attend the launch live, the next best thing is sharing it with others via Twitter.

Anonymous July 2, 2011 at 12:31 AM

Leaving 6 575 235 700 people who agree with me entirely…

Anyway, given that I live in Sydney Australia, making shuttle launches hasn’t been an option for me. I follow them on NASA TV. The fact that I think Twitter has produced a net decrease in awesomeness in the world is obviously my opinion only, so I expect there are many people who disagree with me. Of course, my opinion is the only thing that matters to me for something like this. Luckily UT allows me to espouse my opinions even though they are very often ill-conceived, poorly thought-out, impulsive, divisive, have more than a whiff of troll to them sometimes, add nothing of value to a debate, and probably no better than most of the stuff on Twitter.

The crux of the matter is though that I like to be alone with my thoughts when I’m witnessing something like a launch. It is my quiet time, a time for reflection, a time when I can glimpse the best that humanity has to offer and not the worst like I see on the news every single night. It is a sort of reverence and excitement and peacefulness and hope that I get when I see any science mission or manned mission go up, and for me, this is where I derive my enjoyment from such things. I find that other people’s thoughts significantly detract from this state of mind that I get into, especially when they are limited to expressing what is happening in the equivalent of a text message. Am I trying to say that I feel as if it trivializes it? Probably. If you enjoy sharing launches with others via Twitter – great! It’s your life…

Anyway, as I said – stoked for Jason. Hope he enjoys himself. I know that others will probably enjoy his posts, and it is probably all good PR for NASA. I’m just adding my two cents, and you know that I like to be a bit of a smart-arse when I do so… Don’t take me too seriously.

HeadAroundU July 1, 2011 at 3:32 AM

Pfff! I’ve built my own rocket and next week I’m going to watch a supernova explode. And then I’ll go for a honeymoon around Saturn with Emma Watson.

Lights in the Dark July 1, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Please tweet updates for Astrofiend and the rest of us to follow

Anonymous July 2, 2011 at 12:35 AM

I’ll follow your feed if you include ALL the relevant detail.

Creepy? Indeed.

Lights in the Dark July 1, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Please tweet updates for Astrofiend and the rest of us to follow

A Geek Mom (Shannon) July 1, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Methinks @Astrofiend hasn’t actually ever followed a Shuttle launch on Twitter.

Anonymous July 1, 2011 at 11:52 PM

Must have been the “God I hate Twitter” that gave it away? :)

Seriously though – I watch shuttle launches on NASA TV. Sometimes I am unfortunate enough that I have to watch it on the site that includes Twit feeds next to the display. All I can say is that the shuttle launch is one of the greatest spectacles on Earth, and one of mankind’s greatest achievements. It physically pains me to contrast this with the sheer tedium of the boring mental enema of Twitter ‘coverage’ of the event. Maybe it’s just me, but I fail to comprehend how a bombardment of short text messages containing people’s random thoughts on proceedings adds anything to something so magnificent.

Anyway – obviously I don’t need to explain that as this is my opinion, I am right and you are wrong.

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