I keep trying to post my thoughts and photos about the first-ever European tweetup in Cologne, Germany and a smaller tweetup with @Astro_Paolo Nespoli, @Astro_Cady Coleman, and @AstroSamantha Cristoforetti at the ESA/ESRIN facility in Frascati, Italy. Way too many great conversations and experiences to slow down and write. Now that I’m back home in DC, I have no more excuses.
One word sums up the week: AWESOME!
SpaceTweetup stage. Cologne, Germany
Just so you know, I was informed by my European tweeps that they were making a bit of fun at our American enthusiasm by using the word awesome. As it turned out, awesome became the catch-word of the event — with it’s own hashtag. I think enthusiasm is actually contagious, if given the proper petri dish. Right @twISSt? ;)
Kudos to Marco Trovatello and Henning Krause of the Germany Space Agency DLR and Fulvio Drigani, Erica Rolfe, Daniel Scuka, Andreas Schepers of the European Space Agency ESA. You guys ROCKet!
Here are some highlights of the Space Day Tweetup in Cologne:
Enthusiast tweeps waiting to board the bus.
ESA's FABulous tweep-herder @EricaRolfe
ESA/DLR SpaceTweetup Welcome by Marco, Andreas, and Fulvio.
ESA's @DanielScuka tweeting for @ESAoperations.
We headed out to the tarmac to see the A380, the largest passenger airliner in the world, and Sofia aircraft, or Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. We got a glimpse of the German version of Air Force One for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (What is it with wet tweetups lately? Did Stephanie Schierholz and I bring the STS-135 rain with us?)
German version of the Air Force 1
We headed back to the tweetup tent to meet the Expedition 26-27 and STS-134 astronauts. One problem, we separated from the group somehow. Here are my LostMates!
Lost with me on the grounds of German Space Day: @SpaceMike @Timmermansr @JohnnieMojo
This little train came by to give us a lift. Well, not exactly...
This little magic train appeared. I thought maybe it would lead us back to basecamp, but no dice. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure how we found our way back to the tweetup tent. Perhaps it was the huge inflatable astronaut that guided us home. (Or the smell of coffee and pastries back in the TWent!)
Large inflatable Spacewalker at German Space Day
SpaceTweetup Coffee Bar
Before starting the program again, we assembled at the stage for a group photo. Just then, @Astro_Paolo appeared in the tent, followed by @Astro_Cady, @Astro_Box, @AstroIronMike, @Astro_Taz, and Drew Feustel. One by one, they plopped down in the middle of the chaos to pose with us for the group photo. Totally unscripted. Totally AWEsome!
SpaceTweetup Portrait with Astronauts Sprinkled in. Photo: ESA
Here is a list of the speakers from the agenda. As you can see, the DLR/ESA folks kept us hopping — in a wonderful way.
I lost track of the number of astronauts who visited the tent during the day. Ten or more, maybe? ESA astronauts train at a facility on site, which made it easy for them to drop by. I was thrilled to meet new ESA astronauts Alexander Gerst, @Astro_Luca Parmitano, and @AstroSamantha Cristoforetti, as well as veteran astronauts like Thomas Reiter, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations.
And, you know how it goes…when astronauts show up, tweeps leap into action…as in Lights, Camera, Action!
New ESA astronaut @AstroSamantha
@DataChick's @VenusBarbie and friends listen to @Astro_Luca
NASA's Stephanie Schierholz encourages ESA Astronaut Alexander Gerst to tweet
I loved hearing new ESA astronaut @AstroSamantha tell the crowd that her inspiration has been @Astro_Paolo, @Astro_Ron, and his brainchild @FragileOasis. WooHoo for Fragile Oasis!! AND, if we can work out an agreement with our ESA colleagues, we hope to include ESA bloggernauts on the site. Shhhh. That’s just between us….
Stephanie Schierholz and I had an opportunity to share insights from our NASA tweetup experience. Here’s what tweeps look like via my iPhone Hipstamatic app Helga lens. Quite surreal and grainy. Or maybe it was all a dream.
Our very own TWaparazzi! @mfrissen @gravinaut @hollandSpaceCen
With Space Day in full swing, we shared the facility with 80,000 visitors — adding to the excitement and frenzy.
DLR balloon in the crowd outside the SpaceTweetup Tent.
Jeff Wallace @RocketMan528 carried @Camilla_SDO to Europe with him. Camilla is quite the cult hero. Space groupies rushed to take photos with her (including my Star Wars buddies and me). I don’t know if you can tell, but the woman in this photo is crying. I’ve never seen anything like it. Crying, just because she got to hold a rubber chicken (a very lovable rubber chicken, I might add).
SpaceTweetup @Camilla_SDO Fan (They even dressed alike!)
Magnet @Camilla_SDO collects Star Wars + NASA
I have so much more to share. Time and space get in my way. I’m still processing and absorbing. I have so many new tweeps to connect with. Without social media, I would never have met any of you out in the virtual universe — like my long-time Twitter buddies @Cosmo4U and @Amoroso, whom I met in person for the first time.
Our world is getting smaller, but our connections are limitless!
@SpaceRaceKids + @Timmermansr sharing the space luv!!
For more information about the tweetup, you can read ESA’s excellent blog and their Flickr stream.
I leave you with a few iconic pics of Germany.
Church next to my hotel.
The view outside the train station!
Very Matrix-y: Make sure you look UP inside the Frankfurt Airport
Next post: ESA/ESRIN tweetup in Frascati, Italy.