I’m sitting in the NASA Tweetup tent this morning, waiting for the day’s program to being. So far, the experience has been amazing, and it’s only going to get better with today’s launch!
Yesterday, I made my way the press accreditation center, around 7:30 in the morning and checked in for the Tweetup. I picked up my badge and signed some forms, and then headed on to the KSC press site, about 3 miles from the launch pad. I arrived at the tent early, considering the program didn’t start until 10 AM. I was excited to unpack, get all my tweeting and blogging gear out, and meet my fellow tweeps!
We began at 10 AM with introductions, and I was so impressed with my fellow tweeps. We have a belly dancer/librarian (how cool is that!), a 3 time Jeopardy champion, teachers, writers, scientists, and of course Seth Green and Levar Burton!
After the introductions, we got a great demonstration of the spacesuit and exactly how it works. Then we broke for lunch (I headed to the KSC cafeteria to grab some food), then returned for afternoon speakers. We heard from NASA’s Chief Scientist, Endeavour’s Flow Director, the ISS associate program scientist, and and astronaut Clay Anderson. All the speakers were excellent and they each had some interesting things to say.
We got a bit of a break, during which I talked a little to Seth Green (picture to come!), and then we boarded buses for a KSC tour. We headed to the shuttle landing facility (SLF), where we got to see the runway the shuttle lands on (the width of the runway is 300 feet!) and the crane that places the shuttle on top of the 747 for transportation. Then we moved on to the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) which is so massive the doors have to be opened in a certain sequence because otherwise weather patterns will form inside the building. I can’t describe how amazing it was to see the inside of this building. No tour group is lucky enough to, and even previous Tweetups haven’t been able to go inside, so it was really an experience. I took a ton of pictures, so I’ll be posting those once I get home.
After the VAB, we went to the Saturn V museum, where we got to see a Saturn V and roam around for awhile. I hit up the gift shop (of course) and bought a few things, including an Endeavour STS-134 t-shirt.
Next, we returned to the twent and waited to board the buses for the RSS retraction from the shuttle. Unfortunately, due to weather, the retraction ended up being postponed until about 11:45 PM and we weren’t able to witness it. This was definitely a big disappointment, as it was our one chance to see the orbiter and launch pad up close.
Today’s launch forecast is 70% favorable and the emergency landing site in France is a “go”. I can’t describe how excited I am for this once in a lifetime opportunity. If you want more frequent updates, I’ll be posting to my Tumblr and tweeting as well.