Tag Archives: Kennedy Space Center

Warning: I Tweet Alot!

During Space Shuttle missions or special events, I tweet alot.  I admit it. It’s true. Folks tease me about filling their pages with space tweets. I love sharing photos and inside scoop. Isn’t that what it’s all about? It’s just so much fun, I can’t stop myself.

I’ve said it before, I’m TWaddicted.

We have two tweetups in two weeks during the upcoming STS-132 mission. We’re hosting space tweeps down at the Kennedy Space Center for a tweetup at the press site on Thursday and Friday. Hopefully Space Shuttle Atlantis will lift off at 2:20 p.m. Friday as scheduled for picture-perfect end to the tweetup. So far, we have a 70% chance of good weather.

If you’re in the Kennedy Space Center area on Friday, please huff ‘n puff the clouds away!

STS-132 Mission Poster

STS-132 Mission Poster

The following week, we have a Johnson Space Center mission tweetup on Wednesday, May 19. This will be my first Houston tweetup. I was in Italy during the STS-130 tweetup. I saw enthusiastic tweets from those who attended, so I’m looking forward to this one.

Sadly, none of the STS-132 flyboys signed on to tweet about the mission. Each astronaut is given the choice:

To Tweet or Not to Tweet. That is the question…

STS-132 astronauts

STS-132 astronauts

They all declined the offer. (Can you imagine passing up the opportunity to tweet? Heresy, I say!)

Consolation: we still have Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi tweeting away from Space Station. He’ll tweet about the launch and docking and mission highlights. He posts the most amazing pics, like this one of “Planet Bahamas.”

Planet Bahamas by @Astro_Soichi

Great scoop for you! We have a new feature to offer this mission : BuzzRoom, a social media aggregator page to collect all the tweets, flickr images, video and more for the tweetups. I’ll post the link once it’s live. SOOO excited. Jess3 built it for us. Folks can be part of the tweetup conversation directly from the BuzzRoom webpage. You’re going to LOVE it!

So, for those of you following me on Twitter, brace yourselves.

So much to tweet. So little time.

ST-132 tweetSTS-132 tweetSTS-132 tweetsTS-132 tweet

BTW: Thanks to Brazil’s Manoel Balem for inspiring this post. He sent me this DM (direct message) after I uploaded a dozen or so STS-132 crew photos on Twitpic:

STS-132 twitter message

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Filed under NASA, social media, space, tweet-up

Every Ending = New Beginning

In the mid-90′s, I recall a conversation with German Space Agency liaison, Gerhart Brauer – both a colleague and good friend to me. I struggled with a painful chapter in my life, and Gerhart offered this one simple phrase that made all the difference at the time. And even today.

Every ending is a new beginning.

Sometimes, though, this concept can be hard to accept. Personally and professionally. Take the end of our beloved Space Shuttle program, for example. Only three flights left. EVER!

Shuttle Stack

Shuttle Stack

My sister Aimee recently reminded me how she and Daddy watched Columbia lift off on April 12, 1981. She remembers him marveling that we could actually launch a rocket from Earth and fly it back to the planet like an airplane. The concept was so unbelievable at the time.

We take it for granted today.

I don’t recall the launch at all. But, I remember the STS-1 landing two days later. I worked at the University of Texas Ex-Students’ Association in Austin. We gathered around the conference table to watch Columbia land. I remember how cool it was to meet STS-1 John Young and Bob Crippin for the first time a few years later. They were the first humans to put their lives on the line and strap themselves onto the Shuttle stack for launch.

But then again, every astronaut who has ever flown on a rocket ship takes a leap of faith – each time we ignite the engines.

Yes, the fleet of amazing reusable winged vehicles served us well over the last three decades (with the exception of our tragic loss of the Challenger and Columbia crew and vehicles on two missions: STS-51-L and STS-107). We don’t relish mothballing the remaining three vehicles: Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour. But think about the exorbitant cost of upgrades. Cost alone makes the close-out decision for NASA managers so much easier than for those on the outside looking in.

Orbiter Cutaway

Orbiter Cutaway

Let’s face it, many of us are mourning the end of the program. And that’s ok. Grief is a reasonable human response. We love to watch our winged vehicles soar into the air, breaking gravity’s grasp on humanity. Those of us fortunate enough to witness a Shuttle launch live, love to feel the ground-shaking rumble and the roar of the engines. Some have even seen the night-sky turn to day as the vehicle propels to the heavens above.

 

STS-131 launch

STS-131 launch

 

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a Space Shuttle!!!

(Sorry Superman. We’ve got the real thing. You’re only fiction.)

So what happens next? What follows the Space Shuttle program? So many ask. Many are angry and confused. I don’t have the answers. Just know that NASA folks are furiously working to fill in the blanks. (We’ll fly on Soyuz spacecraft to Station in the meantime.) Beyond that, stay tuned. No comfort for thousands of workers who made house payments, put food on the table, and paid school expenses off Shuttle-related paychecks. I get it. My heart goes out to them. This post-Shuttle “new beginning” must feel like a black hole, where everything they know is disappearing into a powerful vortex outside their control. NASA has been planning this for years, but it doesn’t make the end of the program any easier.

We humans don’t like change, do we?

It’s uncomfortable. Messy, at times. We often prefer the certainty of misery over the misery of uncertainty. That’s why we stay in dead-end jobs or in joyless relationships. We’re funny like that. When change comes, we fight it, dig in our heels, complain to anyone who will listen. Does that sound at all familiar?

But with every new beginning, comes new hope for a better tomorrow.

If we can only let go of those things we cling tightly to, we might have two arms free to embrace this scary, unknown new thing — sometimes called a fresh start.

Here are a few ways to face change head on. Our Goal: Influence Change!

  1. Think creatively.
  2. Use the same tools in new ways.
  3. Find new tools to make old ways new.
  4. Look at a problem upside down and right side up.
  5. Deconstruct to reconstruct.
  6. Make change your own.
  7. Sculpt your world into something better than ever existed before.

Who knows, you might like tomorrow better than today! Really, it could happen. ;)

STS-132

STS-132

 

BTW: The next launch, STS-132, is scheduled for May 14. We’ll be having our second Shuttle Launch tweetup at the Kennedy Space Center and a mission tweetup at the Johnson Space Center. Stay-tuned for stories about the launch and space tweeps I meet there.

If you have stories to share about where you were and how you felt with the first Space Shuttle left Earth, feel free to post them as comments. I’d love to read them.

Crosspost on OpenNASA.com and GovLoop.com.

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Filed under Earth, leadership, NASA, social media, space, tweet-up

Space: What’s NOT to Hope for?

At the NASA tweet-up down at the Kennedy Space Center for the STS-129 launch a reporter asked me a question that really threw me. Here, a week later, I’m still thinking about it. He asked:

“Do you think bringing tweeters here gives NASA hope for the future.”

NASA Tweeps Photo Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

NASA Tweeps Photo Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

Hope for the future? Really?

Why wouldn’t we have hope for the future? With or without Twitter in the mix?

What’s not to hope for?

Now, I get all the doom and gloom reporting about job losses with the end of the Space Shuttle program, and threats of budget cuts. Yes, the job losses are real. Yes, they are heartbreaking AND very frightening for those whose jobs are at stake. Yes, we’ll probably take some budget hits from the White House and Congress. We are, after all, in a squeezed economy…though we see signs of recovery. But none of this is new. We’ve faced all this before.

But, hope for the future? I simply can’t conceive the reverse.

We have a universe of questions out there to find answers to. We, as humans, are curious creatures. We’ll find ways to get the answers. It may or may not look like someone’s pet project. It may or may not fit on today’s calendar. Or even tomorrow’s.

But we, as a human race, WILL GO FORWARD. We will seek answers beyond our planetary borders.

NASA will play a role. What that role will be is determined by the President and Congress. That’s the way this works. But we’ll be a player, none-the-less. We’ll shape the debate. We’ll craft the solutions.

Again, what’s not to hope for?

Maybe what we need more than hope is to work harder to ignite that spark of passion in young and old alike to:

  • ask big questions,
  • never accept the easy answer,
  • stretch beyond even our wildest dreams.

Oh we have much to hope for! Humanity has many problems yet to solve. But some of us can’t sleep until we bridge the gap between imagination and reality. And, you know what? It’s not about you and me…or what we may want out of this life — fame, fortune, power, or simply survival.

Hope is about a better tomorrow…for all of humanity.

So the real question may be: what role will NASA and the international space community play in the future? (A HUGE one, I hope!) And, how can you and I take steps to get us there?

If you ask me, I want to: Be the hope! Be the change!

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi

Cross post on OpenNASA.

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Filed under culture, Earth, federal government, leadership, NASA, social media, space, tweet-up

Why Twitter? Why Now? Why Not?

I’m still processing conversations from the STS-129 Launch Tweet-Up at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday and Monday. Because we spent launch day at the press site, I crossed paths with a number of veteran reporters and cameramen — yes, most were men.

They found it “amusing” — to say the least — that we wanted to host a group of “twits.” Ar Ar Ar Ar. Think loud belly laughs and shared nods. (A modern version of their reaction would be fist-bumps.) We prefer the word, tweeps, thank you.

Here’s one common question: “What can you possibly say in 140 characters?”

My answer: A few well chosen words speak volumes. What about:

I love you.

You’re fired.

Thank you.

You’re free to go.

I’m pregnant. (I’m not. Just so you know.)

Here are a few words I tweet often. Reality check on our industry. We’ve been reluctant to let others see us sweat. So. I like to remind the twitterverse:

Space is HARD! We make it look easy.

But noone can tweet it better than @Astro_Mike Massimino, who is eloquent in his 140 character essays on life in space.

@Astro_Mike's tweet from orbit

@Astro_Mike's tweet from orbit

My point is simply this: 140 characters, crafted thoughtfully, can be life-changing. We, in the government AND media, are wedded to our wordiness. (Just look at some of the titles on our business cards.) We ensure nothing is left open to interpretation. We want the “last word” to close out the argument.

Twitter invites a conversation. Free form. No boundaries.

Is free-flowing conversation a risk? Sure. Isn’t it always? But, I think we call that democracy. Right? Freedom of speech? Twitter simply makes it global. And how cool is that!

Follow the living, breathing NASA STS-129 Tweet-Up conversation.

BTW, you can help @Astro_Mike win TWEET of the YEAR for his first tweet from space in Mashable’s Open Web Awards. Vote & vote often!

Cross post on GovLoop.

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Filed under culture, federal government, Gov 2.0, leadership, NASA, social media, space, tweet-up