Tag Archives: ron garan

LAUNCH: Time to Stop Wasting

I’m flying high today. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy website hosted our LAUNCH: Beyond Waste blogpost authored by LAUNCH: Water Innovator and Astronaut Ron Garan: LAUNCHing Ideas for a Waste-less Tomorrow.

We’ve been refining LAUNCH over the last few years. This will be our fourth sustainability innovation forum. We’ve hosted LAUNCH: Water, LAUNCH: Health, and most recently, LAUNCH: Energy — all at the Kennedy Space Center. Now we’re moving from the east coast to the west coast. We’ll gather 35-ish thought leaders to hear and discuss ten game-changing solutions to the problem of waste at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory this July.

Waste is a huge issue for humans living on the planet, as well as those who live beyond the borders of Earth. In the developed world, we live in a throw-away society. We use a product (and sadly people, sometimes) and toss it when the newest model comes along. In the developing world, citizens take discarded objects, and give them new life. My daughter bought this soda can art from a market in South Africa.

South African Art: Plane from Recycled Fanta Can

South African Art: Plane from Recycled Fanta Can

To travel in space long distances, humans must take what they need for the journey. At $10,000/lb, we need to think long and hard about the essentials we send off the planet in our rocket-propelled biospheres.

We need creative minds to help think about designing a future with zero waste, and re-think waste in creative new ways to add redundant value.

LAUNCH: Beyond Waste is accepting proposals until May 15th. Be the change we need for a better tomorrow. Apply now at  http://challenge.launch.org.

Stop wasting time! It’s time to stop wasting.  

Let’s create a future with zero waste. I’ll leave you with a little Steve Miller Band….

Time Keeps on Slipping: Steve Miller Band

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Filed under LAUNCH, NASA, social entrepreneurship, space

Very Spacey Social Media Week in DC

This week was social media week around the world. How cool to participate on the Breakfast Kickoff Panel, and our NASA Tweetup with Space Station Astronaut Ron Garan. Here is a snapshot of DC Social Media Week chatter: a little space on Earth.

@skytland tweet

DC Social Media Week Kickoff

Peter @Corbett3000 kicks off DC Social Media Week

Social Media Week @GoogleDC tweet

Social Media Week @InTheCapital Tweet

Social Media Week @jnetter tweet

Social Media Week @yourdailyphil tweet

Social Media Week @Isaldarriaga tweet

DC Social Media Week Panel

Fellow Panelist @AlliHouseworth + Moderator Bonnie Shaw @bon_zai

Social Media Week @AlliHouseworth Tweet

DC Social Media Week

Fellow Panelist Ryan Hill @Hirshorn

Social Media Week @R_Steinbach tweet

Social Media Week @SMWWDC tweet

Social Media Week @bon_zai tweet

On Tuesday, NASA hosted three Space Station astronauts: Mike Fossum, Cady Coleman, and Ron Garan. They debriefed NASA Headquarters employees, met with Members of Congress and staff, and split off for separate events. Cady and Mike when to an event at the Air and Space Museum while Ron hosted space tweeps at the NASA tweetup at NASA Headquarters in downtown DC.

NASA tweetup @Astro_Cady Tweet

@AndreasSchepers Tweet

NASA tweetup @NASAhqphoto Tweet

NASA tweetup @schierholz Tweet

NASA Tweetup @andresdavid Tweet

NASA tweetup @bethbeck Tweet

NASA tweetup @Astro_Ron Tweet

NASA Tweetup @KelleyApril Tweet

NASA tweetup @bethbeck Tweet

NASA Tweetup @Sig727 Tweet

NASA tweetup Crowd. Photo: NASA/Carla Cioffi

NASA tweetup Crowd. Photo: NASA/Carla Cioffi

NASA tweetup @Astro_Ron Tweet

NASA Tweetup @datachick Tweet

Thanks for letting me share a few highlights from a great week! And a real treat for me: trending in DC during Social Media Week!

Social Media Week @TrendsDC tweet

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Filed under astronaut, Fragile Oasis, NASA, social media, tweet-up

Moon Shadows

Now that I’ve started the PhD program at Virginia Tech, I drive to the Blacksburg campus one day a week for classes. In order to get to my 9:00 a.m. class, I leave my house at 4:00 a.m. Needless to say, much of the drive is illuminated by artificial light — street lights and headlights from my car. Once I get into the hills and mountains outside the Washington, D.C. area, street lights disappear, as well as the light pollution from the metroplex. An amazingly bright moon (and BBC news on XM radio) kept me company.

Moon from Space

Moon from Space

As I drove, I thought about the disparity between people who live without power around the world — even today — and the hi-tech culture that sends humans to space. Technology enables me to look at photos of moonrises from space in near realtime. Some cultures may never see those pictures.

Lost in thought, I noticed something odd. Light kept flashing on and off the road in front of me and bounced off the hood of my car — like a pulsating flood light from a helicopter, but engulfing too great a distance to be manmade. I looked up through my sunroof to see the source.

The trees on top on the mountain cutaway created a filter pattern, blocking and revealing the moon, strobe-light fashion, as I drove through. It dawned on me:

Moon Shadows!

I’d never seen them before, that I can recall. What a cool experience in the black of night to have the heavenly light-dance in front of and all around me. A song from my distant past flooded into my memory: Cat Stevens’ Moonshadow.

“Yes, I’m being followed by a moonshadow

Moonshadow, moonshadow

Leaping and hopping on a moonshadow

Moonshadow, moonshadow…”

In my case, I was embraced by a moon shadow.

What is the significance of any of this? I’m not sure. I just felt the need to share the wonder and awe I felt driving through moon shadows, even just for a few minutes. I felt connected, in some strange way, to humans who walked on the surface of that huge reflecting orb in the sky. I felt sad for Astronaut Ron Garan who leaves behind, probably forever, the magnificent view he has of the moon and stars from Space Station.

Moon Rise over Earth. Photo by @Astro_Ron

Moon Rise over Earth. Photo by @Astro_Ron

Thank you, Moon, for inviting me to your shadow-dance performance. You made my day!

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Space Shuttle: Wheels Stop

“In life, there are no ordinary moments. Most of us never really recognize the most significant moments of our lives when they’re happening.” — Kathleen Magee

One week ago today, STS-135 Space Shuttle Atlantis landed on Earth for the final time.

STS-135 Final Space Shuttle Landing Guest Button

STS-135 Final Space Shuttle Landing Guest Button.

Last Thursday, I left my Cocoa Beach hotel at 3:00 a.m. to head out to the Kennedy Space Center to meet the space tweeps who would share this historic moment STS-135 Landing Tweetup with us.

I’d never seen a Space Shuttle landing before. This would be my first…and last.

After checking in all our landing tweeps, we boarded the bus around 4:30 a.m. — Zero-Dark Thirty!!! We waited for news of STS-135 Atlantis in orbit. Only at Deorbit Burn could we head out to the landing strip.

Chris our KSC Escort wait for new of Atlantis' Deorbit Burn

Chris our KSC Escort waits for news of Atlantis' Deorbit Burn

Ah the anticipation. But still, it was really, REALLY early. Thankfully, some came well-equipped with Red Bull and Energy Drinks!!

Ching-Yao Yu @nutzareus pointing to Energy Drinks

@nutzareus pointing to @sharkb8t Energy Drinks

@sharkb8t is a zombie without her energy drinks

@sharkb8t is a zombie without her energy drinks!

Many of our friends showed up — some flat, some furry, some human: @CraftLass, @WoodToast, @MouthTheTribble, @Astro_Fuzz, @FlatSamantha, and Camilla_SDO

@CraftLass & her husband @WoodToast w/ space critters

@CraftLass & her husband @WoodToast w/ space critters.

We received news of Deorbit Burn! WooHoo! Our bus driver pulled out of the parking lot. We were on our way.

Space Tweeps on way to Final Space Shuttle Landing

Deorbit Burn means NASA Tweetup Bus is moving!

Not long into our journey, we slowed to a crawl in snarled “final landing” traffic. @WiredForFlight and @FlightSoft checked an iPad app to track our progress on the road.

@WiredForFlight @FlightSoft watching our progress in Landing Traffic

@WiredForFlight + @FlightSoft watching our progress in Landing Traffic.

Once we arrived, we headed to the viewing stands. I was hoping the sun would defy nature and rise early so we could see Atlantis drop from the skies. But no.  Still dark.

Shuttle Landing Tower

Shuttle Landing Tower

As we waited for Atlantis to land, the Expedition 28 crew onboard the International Space Station streaked across the sky at 17,500 mph. What an amazing treat to wave to @Astro_Ron Garan, Mike @Astro_Aggie Fossum and their crewmates 220 miles overhead.

Space Station crossed sky just before STS-135 landing.

Space Station crossed sky just before STS-135 landing.

Atlantis landed just a few minutes after Station crossed the sky. I expected to cry, but instead, I squealed and giggled. This was my first landing. It was more first than last to me. I felt incredibly giddy.

Tweet: Job Well Done America!

What a treat to be part of history!

We all boarded the bus again, and said goodbye back at the media badging building. @WinObs rode off into the sunrise on his bike, but before he left, he posed with @Camilla_SDO.

@WinObs post-landing w/ @Camilla_SDO

@Camilla_SDO gets around. Here she is with @WinObs.

I headed back to Cocoa Beach to check out of my hotel and grab breakfast with Madi Sengupta and Mary Lynne Dittmar. Next we headed over to the launch pads of our past — Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury. The Apollo pad is well cared for. Gemini and Mercury, not so much. Walking among the ruins, I imagined ghosts of rocket boys with crew cuts and slide rulers who paved the way for the Space Shuttle generation.

Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury launch pads.

Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury launch pads.

One of the highlights of the day: attending the employee celebration with Atlantis post flight! Here is my first view of Atlantis, the star of the party.

Employees salute Atlantis, the final Space Shuttle.

Employees salute Atlantis, the final Space Shuttle.

Atlantis Post-Landing

Here she is: Atlantis!!!

Employees sign STS-135 banner.

Employees sign STS-135 banner.

My "mark" on history.

My "mark" on history.

Thank you Stephanie Schierholz for making the landing tweetup happen. What a glorious day. Sad because it’s the end. But what a wonderful 30 years we’ve had!

Time to head to the airport. On the way, I pulled over to take a picture of space melons. Only on the space coast…! ;)

Space Melons: only on the space coast.

Space Melons: only on the space coast.

On the flight home, the flight attendant read aloud a note someone gave him, recognizing the last Space Shuttle landing and the end of an era, as well as the NASA Administrator in the front row and other NASA employees on the flight. The passengers broke into applause. Tears streamed down my face. The end. It finally hit me.

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Final Shuttle Launch Tweetup

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” — Douglas Everett

I really don’t have the heart to write about the end of an era. Many others are quite prolific in their opinions — both pro and con. I simply want to celebrate the coming together of NASA employees, families, friends, fans, as well as all the new tweetships forged at the Kennedy Space Center during the picture-perfect STS-135 Space Shuttle Atlantis final liftoff.

STS-135 Atlantis Launch. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

STS-135 Atlantis Final Liftoff. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Honestly, I never believed we would launch on time with all the crazy weather the day before launch. Torrential rain. Lightning strikes near the pad. I’m SO VERY thankful for our sturdy TWent and plywood floor during the L-1 tweetup events. And it all started out so innocently. Look at the gorgeous blue skies on L-2:

2 Days to Launch

NASA tweetup registration

NASA tweetup registration

That evening, the skies told a different story:

Ominous L-2 Clouds over Cocoa Beach

Ominous L-2 Clouds over Cocoa Beach

L-1, NASA tweetup day, the weather turned stormy:

1 Day to Launch

The weather outside couldn’t dampen the spirits INside the NASA tweetup TWent. Space tweeps, who know each other virtually, get to “meetup” for the first time.

NASA tweetup Twent-full

Twent-full!!

Great speakers. NASA’s Deputy Lori Garver kicked off the festivities. Then our special guest, Elmo from @SesameStreet, interviewed astro-tweeters @Astro_Mike Massimino and Doug @Astro_Wheels Wheelock.

NASA Deputy Lori Garver addresses space tweeps

NASA Deputy Lori Garver addresses space tweeps to kick off the formal tweetup event.

@SesameStreet Elmo chats with Doug @Astro_Wheels Wheelock

@SesameStreet Elmo chats with Doug @Astro_Wheels Wheelock

Elmo tells @Astro_Mike he wants to be a teacher.

Elmo tells @Astro_Mike he wants to be a teacher.

Quite the comedy routine. You can watch the U-Streamed video. We learned from @Astro_Wheels that space food tastes like warmed up plastic, and that a Soyuz reentry is like “going over Niagra Falls in a barrel that someone lights on fire.” @Astro_Mike told Elmo that we have to learn to get along on Earth and in space. Team work is how we get things done. @Astro_Wheels added that problem-solving skills are essential. Think Space Station Expedition 24  failed ammonia coolant Pump Module. Side note: Mike also informed Elmo that cougars live in the Bronx Zoo. (But, if you weren’t in the TWent or watching on U-Stream, that comment will make no sense. We’ll just leave it at that.) ;)

Next up: Bill Gerstenmaier, my boss and head of NASA’s Space Operations. He approves the funding to host mission tweetups, so give it up for Gerst. Virtual standing ovation! He gave us a state of the mission update, then the deluge trapped him in the TWent with us.

Space Operations Chief Bill Gerstenmaier

Space Operations Chief Bill Gerstenmaier

View from NASA tweetup tent

Deluge: VAB + launchpad view from NASA tweetup tent

Tweet: TWent Movie Title: A River Runs Thru It, or under it

Angie Brewer, Kennedy Space Center’s Atlantis Flow Director, talked about her beloved Orbiter. We also learned about Space Station research and the new National Lab concept from Tracy Thumm @ISS_Research and Justin Kugler @ISS_NatLab.

Angie Brewer, Atlantis' Flow Director

Angie Brewer, Atlantis' Flow Director

We draw a crowd. The press come in and out of the TWent — our ever present TWaparazzi.

TWaparazzi

TWaparazzi!

After lunch, we headed out to tour the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on the #COOLbus! See for yourself…

STS-135 tweetup Cool bus

STS-135 tweetup #COOLbus!!

On our way to the VAB, @Astro_Ron Garan called from Space Station to say hello to the tweeps! Yes, you read it right. Ron called from space! The tweeps had just enough time to shout out their greetings before the call went out of range. Too cool for words. Right tweeps?

@Astro_Ron tweet after calling STS-135 tweeters from space.Inside the VAB, I always get emotional looking at the flag hanging from the top.

Funny story about the VAB: In the elevator back at my hotel at the end of the day, a boy was telling his mom about getting to go inside the B.I.G. where the orbiter is mated to the tanks. He was telling her it was the biggest building on site, and that’s why they named it B.I.G. I asked if he meant the V.A.B.? Too funny. V.A.B…B.I.G…they sound a lot alike, don’t you think? ;)

Flag inside the Vehicle Assembly Bldg

Flag inside the Vehicle Assembly Bldg

Next, we headed out to the launch pad to watch the Rotating Service Structure roll back from Atlantis, in preparation for launch. We’d heard the roll back was delayed due to weather, so I was pretty bummed…until, voila, Atlantis started peeking out from behind the structure. Wow. Atlantis in all her glory. Here we are in front of of the last Space Shuttle before her liftoff on the last Space Shuttle mission. Many thanks to NASA’s photographer, Paul Alers, who graciously agreed to take our picture, even though it wasn’t on his to-do-list.

STS-135 space tweeps in front of Atlantis on Launchpad

STS-135 space tweeps in front of Atlantis on Launchpad. Credit: NASA/Paul Alers

Overnight I slept with my iphone next to me. All night I checked for scrub email. Nope. Not a one. I left the hotel at 4:20 a.m. but I still didn’t beat the tweeps to the tent.

L-0: launch day!

Take a look at Atlantis on the pad via Sarah Horst‘s twitpic.

Sarah Horst @PlanetDr twitpic of Atlantis on the pad L-0We had a steady stream of speakers all morning. NASA’s Deputy @Lori_Garver came back to chat; along with Laurie Leshin, Deputy of the new Human Exploration and Operations Office (we’re merging Exploration Systems and Space Operations); Chief Technologist @Bobby_Braun; STS-132 Pilot Tony Antonelli, and ROCKet star, Bob Crippen, STS-1 pilot, my former boss. I was running around, so I missed some of the drop ins.

STS-132 astronaut Tony Antonelli

STS-132 astronaut Tony Antonelli

STS-1 Pilot Bob Crippen

STS-1 Pilot Bob Crippen

We posed for our group portrait by the launch countdown clock, then headed out to see the crew in the astrovan on their way to the launch pad. No U-turns this time!

Countdown clock portrait

Countdown clock portrait. Credit: NASA/Paul Alers

Astrovan with STS-135 crew

Astrovan with STS-135 crew. No U-Turns!

So many highlights to share from this historic event. A real tear jerker for all of us was the debut of Shuttle Fanfare, composed by Battlestar Galactica’s Bear McCreary through the teamwork of Seth Green, Mike Dougherty, and NASA. Seth introduced the tribute theme song for STS-135, and explained that he’s working on a Blog-umenary for the Fragile Oasis website detailing the process to create the song.

Seth introducing Shuttle Fanfare

Seth introducing Shuttle Fanfare

Space tweeps eager to hear Bear McCreary's Shuttle Fanfare composition

Space tweeps eager to hear Bear McCreary's Shuttle Fanfare composition

@Astro_Ron Garan called again from Space Station just before launch. This time I passed around my iphone for the tweeps to take to Ron individually. Quite a rush!! We’re hoping to compile a transcript of what everyone talked to Ron about.

But even as awesome as it is to talk to space,  the star of the show was Atlantis herself. What an amazing vehicle. What an incredible legacy.

Space Shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad

Space Shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad

The press site was crawling with humans and cameras. I wasn’t at NASA in the beginning of the Shuttle program. I’d never seen so many satellite trucks and viewing platforms. I’m thankful Atlantis drew a crowd. She deserved it. This photo of Karen James, STS-133 alum, paints a portrait of passionate enthusiasm we all felt.

@keJames eager for Atlantis to liftoff

@keJames eager for Atlantis to liftoff

Press Site Craziness

Press Site Craziness

But we weren’t the only ones watching Atlantis leave this planet for the final time. The Expedition 28 crew onboard Space Station were glued to their screen.

@Astro_Ron tweets pic of Space Station crew watching launch

No, it's not Sunday football. Expedition 28 crew watching Atlantis liftoff.

Here is my launch collage of Hipstamatic images of Atlantis breaking the bonds of gravity.

Collage of my iphone images of Atlantis using the hipstamatic app

Collage of my iphone images of Atlantis leaving Earth.

Thank you space tweeps for making this final launch so special. You are part of the NASA family now! I think this picture says it all:

@KelleyApril + @glancz jumping for joy

@KelleyApril + @glancz jumping for joy!

Big takeaway: We turn dreams into reality. Let’s go boldly into the future together.

For now, if you want to help make this world a better place, join Fragile Oasis and submit your own project. Founder and chief Bloggernaut @Astro_Ron is waiting to hear from you!!

Flyer for Fragile Oasis

Fragile Oasis Tweetup Flyer

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

Hipstamatic View of Final Liftoff

Space Shuttle Atlantis on Launch Pad A

The very last Space Shuttle, Atlantis, soared to the heavens through cloudy skies on Friday, June 8 carrying STS-135 crew of four: Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus, and Rex Walheim. Waiting to greet them on Space Station: Expedition 28 Commander Andrey Borisenko, Ron Garan, Mike Fossum, Satoshi Furukawa, Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergei Volkov.

I watched liftoff with fellow space tweeps at the Kennedy Space Center press site where we hosted our final Space Shuttle mission tweetup. More on the tweetup in my next post.

I wanted to share these images with you taken my iPhone Hipstamatic app (thanks to Nicole Solomon, who told me NEVER to post pictures again without Hipstamatic). Now I have a forever memory of Atlantis via this little slideshow.

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Life: Where’s my Debris Shield?

I haven’t posted an update in two months. I know. I know. I feel the guilt weighing heavily on me. My last post was during the STS-134 Tweetup. I never even downloaded the hundreds of iPhone pics I took of all the tweeps. Sorry guys. And here we are on the heels of our last Space Shuttle mission tweetup: STS-135 Atlantis. NEXT week!!

STS-135 crew portrait

STS-135 crew: Rex Walheim, Pilot Doug Hurley, Commander Chris Ferguson, Sandy Magnus

So here’s my list of excuses:

  • I returned from the last launch to a house consumed by voracious weeds,
  • my Mother returned from Zambia,
  • my daughter, Carol, bought/moved into her first home,
  • a project at work required 24/7 attention,
  • I rediscovered my bicycle, and
  • my brain was fried.

In two days, my daughter Steph returns from her South African adventure. I’m thrilled beyond words to have her back home while she pursues her PhD. Skype is great, but face to face is much better. We’ve been busy trying to rearrange the house to make sure Steph has a place to spread out and study.

Which brings me to why I have time to post this. I’m on sick leave. I experienced an unpleasant encounter with falling debris (ceramic vase) which I unsuccessfully avoided.

If only I had Mission Control to monitor threatening debris and maneuver me out of the way — like they did for the crew of Space Station only this morning.

Unlike me, the crew received warning in time to take cover in the Soyuz spacecraft docked to Station. The debris passed without incident, and they returned to their stations to get on with their daily schedules. I, on the other hand, experienced a direct hit.

Really, you’ll never want me on a long-distance mission. I attract calamity. Yes, I’m the accident-queen. Only two weeks ago, I engaged in battle with angry ground wasps in my garden. Two days ago, I attracted a vase from the top of the refrigeration — which had held those very flowers from my garden that the wasps tried to protect.

@FlatSamantha "Next time wear your space suit @bethbeck - it'll keep those wasps from stinging you and help beat the heat!"

Right now, I’m awaiting word on whether or not my ankle is broken. Either way, the doctor has me off my feet with the offending leg elevated. Which, I must say, severely cramps my lifestyle. Sigh.

In perspective, though, I think my calamities are God’s way to get me to slow down.

I tend to live a “shot-from-a-cannon” life. I’m always in the middle of multiple projects at home, as any homeowner will understand. At work…well, we won’t even talk about that.

Now that I’m forced to slow down — ok, grind to a halt — I can take a moment to reflect. The yard looks amazing. Steph boards a plane tomorrow to come home. We’re about to celebrate our last Shuttle mission — which, though sad, is still an amazing accomplishment. And the coolest thing about getting hurt: a CALL from SPACE wishing me well — thanks to Expedition 27/28 crewmember Ron Garan, Mr. Fragile Oasis!

If you haven’t had a chance to browse Ron’s brainchild, Fragile Oasis, take a moment to join the community. Submit your own Earth-based project and if you get all your friends/colleagues/family to vote for it, you can get a picture from space.

In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying views of Earth (my backyard) as I ice my ankle and keep it propped up on pillows. Maybe someday I’ll get my own PDS…otherwise known as Personal Debris Shield.

Planters in my yard

Container gardening adds color in barren corners.

Planters in my yard

Cluster of planters in my yard.

Tricycle Planter in my yard

Tricycle Planter in my yard

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Filed under Africa, Earth, NASA, social media, space, technology, tweet-up

@Astro_Ron Blasts Off @FragileOasis

Ron Garan is an incredible visionary. Not only is he an astronaut, he’s the force behind Manna Energy (one of our LAUNCH:Water innovations), and now his latest brainchild FragileOasis.org is nearly ready for its long-anticipated debut with new community interactive elements.

Ron, well known as @Astro_Ron to the tweetisphere, left planet Earth on top of a Soyuz TMA-21 rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan yesterday, April 5, 2011 (Kazakh time, April 4th US time). He launched just one week shy of the 50th anniversary of the first human to leave this planet, Yuri Gagarin, who launched from the same launch pad April 12, 1961.

Ron Garan's Soyuz launch

Ron Garan's Soyuz launch. Credit: NASA/Carla Cioff

Ron is traveling to space for his first time on a Russian rocket, though he’s a space veteran with a previous Shuttle flight  and space walks under his belt during STS-124. His crewmates on this mission, Russian Cosmosnauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko are traveling in space for their maiden voyage.

Space Travelers leaving Earth

Space Travelers leaving Earth. Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

Their Soyuz was decorated to commemorate the 5oth milestone, and carries Yuri’s likeness. Here is a twitpic from @Astro_Nicole Stott, who attended the launch.

@Astro_Nicole's twitpic of Soyuz

@Astro_Nicole's twitpic of Soyuz

Ron and his crewmates dock with Space Station on Wednesday, April 6th at 7:18 p.m. EDT. They will join NASA’s @Astro_Cady Coleman, ESA’s @Astro_Paolo Nespoli, and Cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev already on orbit since December 2010.

Astro_Paolo's tweet

The hatch opening and welcome ceremony will start around 8:45 pm. You can watch all this live on NASA TV. Personally, I prefer the new HDtv Ustream version. Great images!

While Ron’s in space, you’ll hear more about Fragile Oasis. We created the Fragile Oasis website http://www.fragileoasis.org to share stories of life on and off planet Earth through the eyes of NASA astronauts. Our next phase of the website design adds community engagement which makes use of the latest social media tools to engage users in conversations about space, while inspiring them to take action toward making our home planet a better place – one project at a time. Our goal is to provide a vehicle for all organizations committed to improving life for the inhabitants of planet Earth to connect, collaborate and inspire each other in their common goals.

New Fragile Oasis site

New Fragile Oasis site. Stay tuned...

We’ve been scrambling for months to get the new community portion of the site ready for debut. We’re still working out the bugs, but we think you’ll LOVE it!

Preview of Fragile Oasis Bloggernaut page

Preview of Fragile Oasis Bloggernaut page

We have celebrity guest bloggers lined up and exciting partnerships with some amazing Earth-based organizations who share Ron’s vision of making this Fragile Oasis a better place for those of us who will never have the chance to leave Earth’s gravity.

NASA supports Fragile Oasis as an investment in tomorrow. We want space to inspire you to make a positive impact here on Earth. Let’s see what you can do!

Thanks Ron for letting us help make your vision a reality.

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Launch: Roving Reporter-nauts

I noticed something really amazing last night during the Expedition 25 Soyuz launch to Space Station: social media tools are transforming our astronauts into behind-the-scenes reporters.

And what a wonderful thing!

Soyuz Launch by @AstroIronMike

Soyuz Launch by @AstroIronMike

Seeing a picture of the Soyuz launch from Astronaut Mike Fincke‘s iphone just seems to feel more intimate and amazing than images taken by professional photographers.

With @Astro_Ron Garan on the backup crew, we get a glimpse inside the inner circle of an exclusive club — those who strap themselves onto rockets for the ride of their lives into space. We get to see what they see. How cool to see astronauts reporting the experience for their fellow astronauts.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really loving this new social media communication revolution.

Here are a few twitpics Ron posted last night:

Astronaut Scott Kelly Receiving Traditional Blessing

Astronaut Scott Kelly Receiving Traditional Blessing

Special Boots for Scott

Special Boots for Scott

Ron and Scott pre-launch

Ron and Scott pre-launch

I especially love this pic (below) from behind the glass. It reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode, “People are Alike All Over,” where an astronaut  finds himself a caged exhibit in a Martian zoo. I wonder if that what it feels like just before launch….

Behind the Glass Walls

Behind the Glass Walls

Soyuz in Sight

Soyuz in Sight

Long Walk to Launch
I love this trippy pic of the walk to Soyuz.
Soyuz on Launch pad

Soyuz on Launch pad

Ron will launch to the International Space Station on a Soyuz in March 2011. You can follow his training on the Fragile Oasis website. He keeps adding new bloggernauts to his astro-community. STS-133 Nicole Stott and Expedition 25 Doug Wheelock are already onboard. Astronaut Don Pettit is gearing up to post hundreds of Science in Space articles and videos.

The Fragile Oasis objectives:

  • Get the word out that the International Space Station is an incredible global asset;
  • Highlight the scientific advancements being accomplished on the International Space Station;
  • Inspire students to academic excellence;
  • Allow people to “experience” living and working in space vicariously through crew; members currently living on the International Space Station; and
  • Use the unique orbital perspective to inspire people to improve life on our planet.

Soon we’ll have a community component on Fragile Oasis that you can be part of. Stay tuned for more features in the next weeks and months. Ron has a HUGE vision for sharing the relevance of space with those of us on Earth.

I’m so thrilled to see our astronauts embrace new technology to leverage ways to let the rest of us join them on their journeys. Again, what a WONderful thing!!

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Gov 2.0 Hero Day

In celebration of Gov 2.0 Hero Day, I want to highlight a few visionary ROCKet stars at NASA: Robbie Schingler, Nick Skytland, Chris Kemp, Astronaut Mike Massimino, Astronaut and Innovator Ron Garan, and Sean Herron.

Robbie SchinglerRobbie Schingler: Chief of Staff, Office of Technology at NASA Headquarters. I met Robbie a few years ago in a Communications workshop. He was working at Ames at the time. Robbie is a powerhouse for change. He is the catalyst for much of NASA’s most innovative Gov 2.0 incubator projects: CoLab, OpenNASA, 2007 Participatory Exploration Summit, OpenGov, LAUNCH:Water sustainability forum, and Random Hacks of Kindness. Robbie tirelessly works to insert collaborative processes that can bring about social justice. Twitter: @schingler

Nick SkytlandNick Skytland: Project Manager, Johnson Space Center. I first met Nick at the 2007 Participatory Exploration Summit that Space Operations Mission Directorate and Innovative Partnership Office sponsored out at Ames. Nick is another energetic creative visionary at NASA. He and Robbie have teamed together for multiple Gov 2.0 collaborative projects including CoLab, OpenNASA.com and Random Hacks of Kindness. Rumor has it that NASA astronauts consult Nick on how to use Twitter effectively — but you didn’t hear that from me. He’s the Powerpoint Communications King. With a few simple words and pictures, he makes clear how social media can change how we do business at NASA. For me, Nick’s main claim to fame was snagging the @NASA account back in 2007 and holding it until the agency was ready to adopt Twitter as a communications tool. Twitter: @skytland.

Chris Kemp and Steve WozniakChris Kemp, NASA Chief Technology Officer for IT at Ames. Indefatigable is the word that comes to mind for Chris. I met Chris at the same Communications workshop where I met Robbie. Chris is a whirlwind of change. Through Chris, our office collaborated with Microsoft to use it Photosynth as a tool to share our on-orbit mission images of the Space Station and Shuttle. He worked with Google to bring about Google Moon.He’s best known outside the agency as Mr. NASA Nebula for the cloud computing initiatives he’s championed. Twitter: @ChrisCKemp

I’m always on the lookout for game changers — ideas, technology, people.

Robbie, Nick and Chris are passionate, energetic change-agents. Through the last few years, these three guys really taught me a great deal about the endless possibilities for change that social media offers. We’re lucky to have them at NASA.

Astronaut Mike MassiminoAstronaut Mike Massimino: Mike agreed to try out Twitter as the first astronaut to take social media in space with him during the STS-125 Hubble Repair Mission. He paved the way for all the other astronauts and many NASA folks to follow. Because of his thoughtful, poetic and often humorous tweets, he became a celebrity practically overnight. He has three times the followers the @NASA account does. He’s a Gov 2.0 hero because he caught the vision of social media and expanded to YouTube segments about space with his Behind the Scenes series. Twitter: @Astro_Mike

Astronaut Ron GaranAstronaut Ron Garan: I met Ron through NASA’s LAUNCH:Water sustainability forum last March. Ron’s Manna Energy water filtration and carbon credit model was selected as one of the ten innovations to present to a group of 40 international thought leaders. What is amazing about Ron is his humility (remember that he’s an astronaut) and passion for making the world better for those who experience the inequities in access to food, water, and basic necessities of life. Through Manna Energy, Ron worked in Rwanda on his own time to bring clean water and sanitation to over 300 schools. Twitter: @MannaEnergy

“Since the Kyoto Protocol was established, only a very small percentage of the carbon market has benefited developing areas; with Africa seeing only 2.5%. We believe economic sustainability and large scale success can be born from an innovative development model that leverages the emerging global carbon credit market and integrates advances in renewable energy, water purification, and other renewable technologies into a comprehensive and compelling offering.” —Ron Garan, Director, Manna Energy Ltd.

But the story isn’t over. Ron is training for a six-month mission on Space Station beginning March 2011. He’ll launch on Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Right now, he’s in Star City, Russia training for his mission. His training is conducted in Russian. Next he trains in Japan. Then back to the Johnson Space Center. He’s my Gov 2.0 hero because he has an amazing vision for a unique interactive social media presence during his training and space travel. He wants to share space — virtually, AND shine a spotlight back on Earth and the needs on our planet. We’re working on pulling together a really cool virtual space place where we can all gather to celebrate his life off-planet, and projects that make life better for those living on-planet. Stay tuned for more details in the near future. Twitter: @Astro_Ron

Astro_Ron in Sokol Spacesuit

Sean HerronSean Herron, Syracuse student and NASA intern. Sean worked with me in the Space Operations Mission Directorate and Robbie on Open Gov issues. Sean is someone to keep watch for in the future. He is fluent in social media and helped shape NASA’s Open Gov Plan with Robbie Schingler. He started a blog on the NASA People site to offer insights on his experiences at NASA. He was our voice on the LAUNCH:Water twitter account, and so much more. Sean gives me hope for our future. I hope he goes on to get his graduate degree then comes back to NASA for a long and fruitful career. Twitter: @SeanHerron

Yes, I notice that I’m only highlighting men. We have a number of game-changing women in leadership in the IT arena, but I don’t travel in their circles. I hope others will celebrate their Hero-ness today, as I celebrate these Gov 2.0 Guys.

Thank you Robbie, Nick, Chris, Mike, Ron and Sean for leading the way to NASA’s future in the Social Space Frontier!

Cross post on GovLoop.com.

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Filed under astronaut, federal government, leadership, NASA, OpenNASA, social media, space, water