Space: @Astro_Wheels Point of View

Though many love to bash Twitter as meaningless chatter, I beg to differ. I think true character is revealed through a mere 140 characters — humor, anger, heart and soul. Meaningless chatter? Yes, that too. But I’m less inclined to follow a chatterhead…or TWatterhead, in Twitter-speak.

As an example of why Twitter matters, I want to introduce you to our new Twitternaut Doug Wheelock, better known as @Astro_Wheels to those of us in the Twittersphere. Doug just launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on June 15 with fellow NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin to join the rest of the Expedition 24 crew on the International Space Station. Doug will stay on Space Station as Expedition 25 Commander with the next crew change-out via Soyuz.

Note: Using the Soyuz spacecraft as our Space Station transport, we launch and land three crewmembers at a time. With six crew inhabiting our Station at any given time, each crewmember serves on two Expedition missions during their 5-6 month orbital assignment.

The Right StuffWith the ever popular @Astro_Soichi Noguchi leaving Station, we needed someone tweeting in space. Doug agreed. And I’m so glad he did. I’m thoroughly enjoying his point of view and feel he’s “The Right Stuff” for the job of communicating the amazing story of humanity’s journey to space and back.

Doug is a natural. He’s not only sharing pictures with us, but adding quite poignant commentary. We can share his journey together. Here is how it starts…and we’ve only just begun. He’ll be on orbit for the next five+ months.


@Astro_Wheels Russian Sokol spacesuit. Astro_Wheels Expedition 24 Crewmates@Astro_Wheels posing next to Soyuz Hatch@Astro_Wheels takes Medal of Honor to orbit.@Astro_Wheels showing his Soyuz window seat.Soyuz spacecraft on the launchpadSoyuz spacecraft on the launch pad


@Astro_Wheels Sunrise@Astro_Wheels Aurora@Astro_Wheels: Cyprus from Space Station@Astro_Wheels: Egypt from Space StationI’m really looking forward to learning more about astronaut Doug Wheelock through his 140 character tweets. I hope you’re following him. If you’re not, you should.


Filed under astronaut, Earth, federal government, Gov 2.0, leadership, NASA, social media, space

8 responses to “Space: @Astro_Wheels Point of View

  1. Pingback: Fünf – mehr oder weniger – aktuelle Bilder aus dem Raumfahrtgeschehen « Skyweek Zwei Punkt Null

  2. skyweek

    But are these actually his own photographs, taken during the current mission? The view of the Moon he twittered today at least is not: such a phase – waning crescent – didn’t happen during the week Wheelock has been in orbit so far.

    • bethbeck

      Most have been current from this mission, except for a Houston training pic that he called out. I’ll have to ask about the moon shot.

  3. A Swiss amateur archivist of NASA orbital photography has now found out that all the images of Earth Wheelock has twittered since his launch were from earlier missions, either in 2007 or in May 2010. Now I can only hope that certain images claimed to be taken on the Moon were really … just kidding, but showing archival pictures implying they were your’s (as were Soichi’s) doesn’t feel right.

    • bethbeck

      You’re right. We need to designate pics from previous missions. What would the hashtag be? #PreExp24 maybe? But still, his insights are worthy of calling out, I think.

  4. skyweek

    Hmm, #old_favorite or something perhaps. But why did Wheelock have those old pics handy at all – is there a library onboard? Anyway, what had made Soichi’s tweets-from-space so unique was that these were current pictures (and great ones at that), sometimes even relating to news events like natural disasters.

    That was what made him literally ‘our eyes on the ISS’ and let people connect to the station who might not have cared much about what else is going on there. (And I’m not excluding myself from that group, by the way.)

    With 6 permanent crewmembers, there must be one willing to step – or float – into Soichi’s shoes. Communicating with the public is part of the job description for astronauts, isn’t it? And it can’t get much better than that.

  5. Pingback: High 5: Beth Beck, NASA Space Operations Outreach Manager

  6. Pingback: NASA Tweetup: Rocket Star @Astro_Wheels | Bethbeck's Blog

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