NASA invites Twitter followers to last Space Shuttle launch


7 Apr 2011
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NASA is hosting a little party for the final launch of the Space Shuttle (STS-135) planned for July 8th at 11:26am EDT. The launch of Atlantis will mark the final chapter of NASA’s Space Shuttle program which began operational test flights in 1982 and will end with 135 launches of the spacecraft. The Space Shuttle fleet included the Enterprise, which was used just for terrestrial test flights, and five fully operational orbiters. Near the end of the program, only three operational orbiters remained as a result of the Challenger spacecraft being lost during takeoff in January 1986 and Columbia disintegrating during re-entry in February 2003 as a result of wing damage the spacecraft experienced during take-off

To ensure the program goes out in style, NASA has invited 150 followers of the space agency’s Twitter account to the final launch. The followers were randomly selected from a pool of more than 5,500 online registrants during a 24-hour period between June 1st and June 2nd. They have been invited to the Kennedy Space Station in Florida where they will get a visit to the launch pad and even an opportunity to wave to crew members of Atlantis on their way to the spacecraft.

On the morning of July 7th, the group will have an opportunity to speak with Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations, astronaut Mike Massimino and Angie Brewer, space shuttle Atlantis’ flow director, in a Tweetup which will be broadcast via UStream. A special guest joining the group will be Elmo from Sesame Street who is being filmed for an upcoming segment on the children’s show in which he learns about space exploration at NASA.

Members of the Tweetup are being encouraged to share experiences through their Twitter accounts which are expected to reach more than 1.5 million combined followers. Those interested will be able to follow Tweetup participants through the #NASATweetup hashtags and through the STS-135 Twitter page. This Tweetup marks the fifth time the space agency has invited Twitter followers to experience a space shuttle launch.

Read more at NASA

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