Two Days of Tweetness: Witnessing a Shuttle Launch

Space Tweeps Unite! NASA Tweetup participants gather at the launch clock on Friday, July 8, 2011. © NASA HQ Photo

It’s been over a week since the NASA Tweetup and I’m still thinking about it. For good reason, of course… it was awesome.

Over the course of two days I saw a capsule that had been to space and back, talked with five astronauts (one currently in orbit!), toured Kennedy Space Center, met a muppet, touched a piece of the Moon, made dozens of new friends and, of course, watched, heard and felt the launch of the last space shuttle to leave Earth. (And managed to talk my way into a delicious barbecue sandwich inside the Vehicle Assembly Building.) All with less than six hours of sleep.

Not too shabby. 😉

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The Final Countdown: Fueling the Anticipation

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

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


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!

The Final Countdown: A Tweetup Journal

The last space shuttle: Atlantis awaits its final launch. Credit: NASA

On July 8, less than a month from now, the last remaining space shuttle is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral. The STS-135 mission will bring supplies and parts up to the International Space Station and will be the historic conclusion of the 30-year-long shuttle program.

Unless otherwise rescheduled, at 11:40am on Friday, July 8, the big clock will count down, the rocket boosters will ignite, the steam will billow and the shuttle Atlantis will roar into the sky for one final, glorious time.

And I’ll be there.


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