I don’t know where to even start. Its been 16 months since I updated this blog. Let me gather my thoughts and maybe I’ll write something new.


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November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

There are really no words to describe what kind of day today was!  It was awesome!
Today was Day 1 of the official NASA Tweetup event at Kennedy Space Center for STS-133.  It was so great to meet so many new people and to put faces, voices, and real names with all the Tweeps I’ve followed.
The event started at 1pm in a tent at the KSC Press Site in the shadow of the GIANT Vehicle Assembly Building, right next to all the buildings and trucks the media uses to cover shuttle launches.  All the Tweetup attendees gathered, began mingling and tweeting of course.  There was welcome video from Astronaut Nicole Stott, who will be riding Discovery to space on Wednesday.  We got a nice talk from Bill Gerstenmaier, the Associate Administrator of NASA about the future of NASA and its role in science and education.  Astronaut Ron Garan took questions from the crowd with great excitement.  Stephanie Stillson, Processing Flow Director of Discovery talked about what it’s like to work on a space ship everyday.  Very cool!  Jeff Goldman VP of Twitter spoke about his role with Twitter and how social media is really changing people’s experience for many things.  He said some really great things about the merging of technology and social interaction and how it can really be used to inspire people.

Then the Tweeps split into two groups.  The first group went to the KSC Press Briefing Room to get a demo of Robonaut 2.  The real Robonaut will be launched on Discovery on Wednesday to be used in space for many research projects and other tasks.  The other groups stayed in the tent to see a demo of the Advanced Crew Escape Suit, or ACES, the orange flight suit the astronauts wear during launch and landing.  Then both groups switched, so we all got to see everything.

There was a mix up with the busses, so we had to change plans for touring KSC today.  Some people had to leave already and were able to get a tour tonight.  The rest, including me, will get a tour tomorrow.
All the tweeps gathered at the large countdown clock for a big group picture.

There will be more about todays events later when I can really sit down and think about it all.  Plus tons of pictures!

Stay tuned for the best part, the LAUNCH on Wednesday Nov 3 at 15:52 EDT

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Delayed, oh no!

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Overnight Shuttle workers found a leak in a gaseous nitrogen line that is used to pressurize the OMS fuel tanks.  They needed to remove and replace the connectors and line.  This caused NASA managers to take a 24 hour delay to the launch.  So now the NASA Tweetup event will start on Monday November 1 and go through the launch on Tuesday November 2.  Im still going!  After a quick scramble to change travel plans, all is good now.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Almost here!

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Only four days away now until the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-133.  AND only three days until I get to be there for the NASA Tweetup!  Im so excited I can hardly wait!

There will be lots of updates through my Twitter account and Facebook account, so stay tuned!

This is going to be amazing!

September 3, 2010 1 comment

You have no idea how excited I am right now!  On Thursday this week I got the confirmation email that I was selected to participate in the Official NASA Tweetup for the STS-133 launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on November 1.  This is certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity for many reasons.  First that there are only two space shuttle launches left, meaning only 2 more chances to even see a launch.  And second, there were only 150 people selected to participate out of over 2,700 entrants.  I am very lucky!

May 31, 2008

The SRB flames are so vibrant and brighter than any picture can show.

Just getting to see a shuttle launch is a special event.  Fortunately I’ve been able to see two already.  STS-124 on May 31, 2008 and STS-132 on May 14, 2010.  But this time will be different.  For my first two launches, I was at Space View Park in Titsuville.  The park is a great place to see a launch from for free.  It gets very crowded, but that just adds to the excitement since everyone else is there to see the same thing.  The park is about 12 miles straight across the Banana River from the Kennedy Space Center shuttle launch pads.  The view is spectacular because as the shuttle leaves the pad, it goes up and to the left making great pictures!  But because you are so far away, the sound is pretty weak by the time its gets there.  I did feel a little ground rumble and saw fish jump in the river.  Everyone starts cheering and clapping the instant they see the smoke come from the pad at Main Engine start.  And once the shuttle leaves the pad, you can see the flames from the Solid Rocket Boosters and the Main Engines.  Its the most vibrant color of yellow and orange and brighter than any flame you can imagine, even at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.  One of the most beautiful images you can imagine.  At that point everyone is either cheering or crying, probably both.  Its actually quite emotional!

I’ve been selected to participate in a Tweetup, which is a gathering of followers that are interested in NASA and users of the social media platform of Twitter.  Other people selected by NASA for this Tweetup are from all over the world.  We’ll get to spend two days at the Press Site of the Kennedy Space Center meeting Astronauts, NASA Managers and other special guests and learning more about spaceflight.  On the day before launch, we’ll get a special tour of some of the facilities at KSC and of course an up-close view of the launch pad with a shuttle on it.

Image Credit: NASA.gov

The Shuttle on the pad after RSS retract.

One special event we’ll get to see is the Rotating Service Structure retraction the night before the launch.  The RSS is what protects the orbiter from the weather while sitting on the pad before launch.  About 15 hours before launch, the RSS is rolled  back from the shuttle stack and the bright Xenon lights flood the pad with light.  It will be special to watch from only about a half mile away.

Of course the highlight of the Tweetup event will be to watch the launch from the Press Site.  The KSC Press Site is where the large countdown clock and flag pole is that you see in many press shots of the launch.  This site is pretty special since not very many people ever get to see a launch from there, usually only press and VIPs.  I guess this time I am a VIP!  The best part of this spot is that it’s the closest any public and people other than launch personnel can be to a shuttle launch.  It’s about 3 miles from the pad!  Definitely one of the most incredible places to see, hear and feel a launch.

Heres’a quick map to see the relationship of all these locations. (Click to see larger view.)

Where I get to see the STS-133 launch from, at the KSC Press site!

I feel this is going to be one of the greatest things I’ll ever get to experience.  And of course get to document the whole experience on Twitter for others to see the excitement and experience also.

Follow me on Twitter @joeylicklider  and on this blog to keep up with all the updates along the way.  Expect some great stories from the Tweetup, Launch and afterwards!

back again

June 30, 2010 1 comment

I was trying to go an entire year with out making a post here, but I just couldn’t take it.  Not really, I just haven’t been thinking about posting here.  Twitter and Facebook seem to have taken over!

Since its been almost a whole year, here’s an update on what I have done since the last post here. Quite a lot actually! So here goes:

Maybe soon I can expand each one.

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The Eagle Has Landed

40 years ago today two men stepped onto the surface of the moon. What a great day in history! I’m glad was able see a lot of the commemorating events today. Last night I watched The Annual John Glenn Lecture at the National Air and Space Muesum in Washington DC. The featured speakers were the crew of Apollo 11. It is to great to be able to hear the stories of walking on the Moon in their own words. Buzz Aldrin said what a remarkable achievment it was but what greater things we will be able to. The time from the first flight at Kitty Hawk to walking on the moon was only 66 years. Now we are 40 years from the moon landing. In 20 more years where will we be? More people will be able to walk on the moon and even at some point travel to Mars. Right now there are 13 people in space aboard the International Space Station, that’s more people than have ever been in space at one time. Comprising a crew from 5 countries, they are taking steps to be able to make those journeys to other worlds. I hope I will be able experience it.

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