If you follow me on Twitter then you would have seen this tweet a couple of weeks ago:
So what exactly does that mean? Well it means me and 149 other Twitterers will meet up at Kennedy Space Center next Thursday, 13 May, to begin two days of up close and personal briefs, tours, etc. leading up to the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-132 mission. The two days will culminate with us watching the launch of Atlantis from the historic Press Site at KSC.
According to @NASATweetup there were over 1,000 people who applied to be considered for attending and only 150 were selected randomly by the Tweetup Coordinators.
Here is some of what they have told us about those two days:
May 13-14, Tweetup Activities
Tweetup activities both days will take place at the press site at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Tweetup participants will have their own an air-conditioned tent with video monitors, WiFi and tables and chairs. Attendees will have access to the grass area by the launch countdown clock and flag.
On May 13, at 10 a.m., a two-hour program and interaction with NASA shuttle technicians, engineers, astronauts and managers will begin.
Following lunch, attendees will board buses for a tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. After the tour finishes in late afternoon, the Tweetup will conclude for the day.
On launch day, you will need to arrive at the press site no later than 9:30 a.m. We’ll have some speakers and visitors to the Tweetup tent for you, but you also will have some free time. The launch is scheduled for 2:19 p.m. EDT. Following launch, you may stay to watch the post-launch news conference on NASA TV in the tent, or you are free to leave the center.
I was quite blown away by the chance to go do this because the program is winding down so there are not many opportunities to see a launch let alone see one from so close.
I lived in Florida as a young child and have memories of watching an Apollo launch from the TV and then seeing that rocket heading into the sky as I ran outside.
Since moving back to Florida six years ago we have been able to see several launches from our backyard in Jacksonville and even one from Space View park in Titusville which was our closest viewing experience to that point. During STS-130’s first launch attempt me and a friend had Kennedy Visitor Center tickets and spent the night there waiting for that launch in the cold. It ultimately scrubbed and launched 24 hours later. I did not return to the visitors center for that one due to work but watched again from my yard. Most impressive launch I have seen to date with the rising Sun lighting up the contrail as Discovery climbed to orbit.
So this will be my closest viewing of the Shuttle launch, three miles away, and I am very thankful to the folks at NASA who invited us to come and participate in this.
I will of course be sharing this experience through Twitter and this website with everyone so I hope you do not mind a period of Space Geekiness leading up to the launch.
I did get a Flip Ultra HD video camera to take along for the visit to document the two days in HD video so that is definitely in line with the tech nature of this site. I will have a review of that device later for everyone.