NASA Tweetup for STS-129: Postscript

NASA Tweetup for STS-129: Postscript

It feels like a lifetime has passed since the Shuttle Launch, but I need to finish telling that story before I can move onto something new. That November the shuttle Atlantis launched flawlessly. It is all a mosaic of moments: the shuttle astronauts drove past and waved; we all piled out for a group picture; speakers came and went and media came and went and we listened and we didn’t and we were interviewed and we laughed. I paused in the middle to record Astronomy Cast – a 10 minute bit for 365 Days of Astronomy actually – and I paused in the middle to work on a grant. There is no escape from real life even when you stand at the edge of the looking glass. At about 2:15pm we went out and staked out our places in the grass. We fussed with cameras...

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NASA Tweetup for STS-129: Day 2

NASA Tweetup for STS-129: Day 2

We’re here. We’re actually here. It is launch day for STS-129, the next to last launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. We settled into our seats at T-3 hours and holding, waiting for the crew to head out the vehicle and load up and get locked in (a new meaning for load & lock?) It is a fair day here in Cape Canaveral, with partial clouds, 4-5 ft seas, and low wind. Chances of launch are currently 70%, but in this room of 101 people from 21 US states, and 4 additional nations (Morocco, New Zealand, UK, and Canada), we are going to keep on believing this-is-happening-right-now until someone makes us stop. As a little girl, one of my earliest memories is watching the shuttle contrails from landings at Edwards Air Force base. From our California home,...

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NASA Tweetup for STS-129: Day 1

NASA Tweetup for STS-129: Day 1

It’s morning and none of us have had enough coffee, but the approximately 100 of us in a conference room in the Rocket part are wide awake. Jon Cowart, Ares 1X deputy mission director, is currently going from table to table asking us to identify mystery items in a run morning mixer. Earlier this morning (which at 8:18am is a scary concept), after checking in and getting badges and goody bags (and taking the goody bags back to the car), we all invaded a large conference room that NASA has tricked out in perfect fashion for a room full of New Media Addicts. Ahead of time they had sent us the SSID and password for the private network. They set up a power strip on each table (with more outlets than chairs per table!). On the screens, they’re displaying...

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STS-129 NASA Tweetup, Day 0

STS-129 NASA Tweetup, Day 0

A few weeks ago one of my students pointed out, OMG THE NASA TWEETUP PAGE WENT UP EARLY! While most of us in the room had alarms set off to go off at noon to register for this special event, it wasn’t yet noon, and in a rush of adrenaline and typing we went to the sign in page and used are various autocomplete software to fill out the sign up page as soon as possible. We were all chasing one thing: The chance to attend one of the last 6 scheduled space shuttle launches. Now, I have to admit, I signed up without checking the launch date, without checking the cost of going, without checking with my husband (my poor husband). I just registered on instinct. And now I’m here, sitting in a Holiday Inn, waiting to attend a special 2-day event NASA is hosting...

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