Countown to Launch-NASA Tweetup STS-135

As I excitedly posted earlier, I was selected (at random, it turns out) to attend the NASA Tweetup for the launch of space shuttle mission STS-135. It’s historic, the mission for the shuttle Atlantis is the last flight of the space shuttle.

Launch is set for Friday, July 8 at about 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. I’m leaving New Orleans tomorrow for Destin, where I’ll help celebrate my cousin’s 50th birthday, then head to check in at the hotel in Orlando and hopefully have enough time to pick up my credentials before 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Thursday is Tweetup activity day. I just got the email for the itinerary. Highlights for the day include a bus trip to the launch pad to view one of the pre-launch procedures, retraction of the Rotating Service Structure, followed by “a tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, including visits to the Apollo Saturn V Center and the Vehicle Assembly Building and a drive by the Launch Control Center, Mobile Launch Platform and Orbiter Processing Facility” to quote the email.

Launch day starts at 5 a.m. NASA Tweetup pro @ageekmom gave us a heads-up to this Florida Today article about how they’re expecting 1 million spectators in and around the space center for the launch. They are also predicting the three roads leading back to Orlando probably are going to be choked with traffic for at least five hours after the launch. So I plan on leaving Orlando early. Like 3 or 4 a.m., then camping out at the press site for as long as they let us after the launch. If there’s a delay, there are launch windows for Saturday and Sunday mornings, and I’ve got the room booked until Sunday just in case. But there will be no delays!

Anyone who wants to catch the action can check the following:

Beginning at 10:30 a.m. on July 7, NASA will broadcast the Tweetup program on Other portions of the Tweetup may be broadcast on NASA Television, online at Photos will be posted online during and/or after the event at

If you’re not familiar with the New Orleans area’s connection with the country’s space program, take a look at this from the Times-Picayune from yesterday. I’m also going to try to meet up with some Slidell folks from the Stennis Space Center, where they test the shuttle engines, and will be interviewing Stennis’ director for the day job the week after the launch.

I’ll be posting later on once I get situated.

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One Response to Countown to Launch-NASA Tweetup STS-135

  1. Sphinx Ink on July 7, 2011 at 3:34 am

    Very cool! Congrats on winning this stellar opportunity to witness a historic event. Let’s hope the USA can resume a healthy space exploration program before long.

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