Can you believe it? – a #NASAtweetup post

This is a re-post of one I wrote on the 134tweetup group blog. The original is here.

Endeavour! Image credit:

In less than 90 hours,

(assuming the weather holds…)

we get to see this beauty →


Think about that for a minute. Take a moment to contemplate how awesome it is that this gorgeous machine, with its six occupants, will soon ride a “controlled” explosion out of our atmosphere, while we watch, close enough to feel the sound of liftoff, to go meet another amazing bit of technology and its occupants in orbit and do science.

We, collectively, as humanity, are pretty darn impressive sometimes. We, individually, as tweetup participants, are all sorts of fortunate to have this opportunity.

[And then, as this was my first post on, I introduced myself.
But this is my own little corner of the blogosphere, so that would be silly.

I’ve grown up with the shuttle program. Well, it’s got a few years on me, so it’s kind of like I’m the awkward, not-nearly-as-cool kid sister watching the shuttle doing its awesome “big kid” stuff from my stroller… wait, that actually happened. I have family in Cocoa, FL, close enough to have a pretty decent view (even from itty-bitty height) the couple of times when there happened to be a launch scheduled while we were visiting.

I was always a space geek… the kid in the home-made spacesuit that my mom sewed from one of those silver thermal blankets with a plastic pretzel tub over my head. 🙂 I remained a space geek, and a geek in general. The one who dragged Dad to the Space Center on the days of vacation when the rest of the family went to the beach.

Rocket Garden at KSCVC

Discovery on the pad, through binoculars

The VAB through a tour bus window

Somewhere along the way I discovered Twitter, and promptly followed @NASA.

In 2009, NASA started hosting “Tweetups” (twitter + meet-up = tweetup, in case you missed that). That summer, the first one at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC was held, with the recently returned crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis mission STS-125… and it just so happened to be on my birthday. Figuring it was destiny or somesuch, I signed up, and more-or-less informed my dad that we were going to DC for my birthday, to meet astronauts.

He was a little confused at that, but once I explained, he agreed. He’s been following the shuttle program since its beginning, and NASA’s various missions since he was pint-sized, so he was equally excited. So we spent my 21st birthday roaming the Air & Space Museum, hearing all about STS-125’s adventures in space with the Hubble, and meeting some cool “tweeps”, astronauts, and the occasional astronaut tweep. (See below left.)

@Astro_Mike! (Mike Massimino) & @ohlauren (me)

with Andrew Feustel (also on STS-134) & Mike Good!

When @NASAtweetup announced there would be a tweetup at KSC for the STS-134 launch, I didn’t really figure on going… I mean, Pennsylvania and Florida aren’t exactly neighbors, and I’m not exactly rolling in money… but I thought, “What the heck, I probably won’t get in anyway,” and registered just in case. Then I got an email that started with “Congratulations”… o.O

And suddenly, it all became clear. I have family to stay within the area. My job is portable. I have just enough gas money and don’t mind long drives. I have a chance not just to see a space shuttle launch, but to see the second-to-last NASA shuttle launch probably ever, from as close as anyone not somehow involved in the mission is ever going to get. (Not to mention all the other assorted tweetup awesomeness.) So with that realization, and a blinding flash of whimsy, I sent in my confirmation and started making plans.

When I told my dad, he informed me he was coming along. We called the relatives to give them a heads up on impending visitors, and got him a ticket to another launch viewing site. Heck, we’re still sorting out the details for getting home, but we’re going. Driving, of course, like the crazy people we are, leaving in the awkward hours of Wednesday morning that are still basically Tuesday night and driving straight through. The way things are looking, I’ll spend more time in the car than in Florida, but I don’t care!

Tweetup participants check in at KSC in less than 60 hours.

Endeavor launches in about 90 hours.


I am!               

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