Sunday, May 9, 2010

NASA Tweetup for STS-132 - more than you want to know

Several have been asking about my schedule at the NASA Tweetup event I’m headed to on Wednesday. As you know, my sole purpose in life is to please my massive online audience and as such, I’m posting excerpts from the STS-132 NASA Launch Tweetup Agenda & Details email I received Friday.

If you are a regular follower of this blog, as I’m sure you are, you know I don’t post as often as I should. That is all about to change, at least next week as I will be posting frequently, especially while I’m at the Kennedy Space Center. Part of the deal getting to attend this event is that the attendees promote NASA through the various social media platforms. To get the most current updates please follow me on Twitter @JonathanESmith or by clicking the link on the left side of the page (scroll down). I can’t promise that my political views about the current and future states of our nation’s space program won’t seep in along the way.

For fun my 2 cent editorials are in red.


The Tweetup will take place at the press site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

NASA's Kennedy Space Center is a government facility. Those without proper identification will not be admitted. (I will be carrying more forms of ID for this trip then I have ever carried before in my life.)

After you check in and receive your badge, you will drive yourself to the Tweetup parking and tent at the Kennedy Space Center Press Site.

Directions to the Kennedy Space Center press site from the Press Accreditation Badging Building on SR-3:
Turn right out of the badging parking lot and proceed approximately a half mile to Gate 2. After showing your badge, proceed ahead, traveling under the overpass and go approximately 4 miles toward the Vehicle Assembly Building. Turn right at the light at Saturn Parkway, passing the OSB building on the left and the OSB II building on the right. The Press Site is on your right just past the OSB II building. You will see a sign at the entrance marked "LC-39 Press Site." Turn right into the entrance and bear left into the lower parking lot. You will need to show your Tweetup badge and photo ID to the Security Officer, who will direct you to the parking for the NASA Tweetup. Please park only in the area designated for Tweetup attendees. You will see the tent ahead of you. Please proceed to the tent and claim a spot at one of the tables. The program will begin at 10 a.m. Your credentials allow you to drive only to the press site and do not provide general access to drive around NASA's Kennedy Space Center. If you drive anywhere other than to and from the Press Site, you forfeit your credentials and attendance at the NASA Tweetup. No person will be permitted past the security gate without NASA Tweetup credentials. This means every person in your vehicle must be a Tweetup attendee.

Thursday, May 13/L-1: Day 1
8-9 a.m. -- Registration at the Kennedy Space Center Press Accreditation Badging Building
9-10 a.m. -- Travel to the press site, set up, meet fellow participants
10 a.m. -- Welcome and introductions by @NASA team members John Yembrick and Stephanie Schierholz
10:10 a.m. -- Robert D. Braun, NASA chief technologist, NASA Headquarters
10:30 a.m. Jon Cowart (@Rocky_Sci), Orbiter Engineering manager, Space Shuttle Program, Kennedy Space Center
10:50 a.m. -- Stephanie Stilson, space shuttle Discovery processing director, Shuttle Processing Office, Kennedy Space Center
11:10 a.m. -- Astronaut Janice Voss
11:30 p.m.-12:15 p.m. -- Break for lunch
12:30 p.m.-1:15 p.m. -- Demonstration of the Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES)
1:20 p.m. -- Instructions for launch day, board buses
1:30-6:30 p.m. -- Tour of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, including visits to the International Space Station Center and Apollo Saturn V Center. Your tour will drive by the Orbiter Processing Facility, Vehicle Assembly Building, Mobile Launcher Platforms and Crawler-Transporter. The last stop on the tour will be Launch Pad 39A to view retraction of the Rotating Service Structure, scheduled for 5:20 p.m. and space shuttle Atlantis. We will have a short break at the press site at about 4:30 p.m. If you need to leave, you may do so at that time. For the tour, you must wear long pants and closed, low-heeled shoes. Tank tops are not permitted. (Have I mentioned it's going to be close to 90 degrees?)

Friday, May 14/Launch: Day 2
9:30 a.m. -- Arrive at Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 Press Site.
10 a.m. -- Group picture beside the countdown clock.
10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. -- Free time and visits from guest speakers, including
- Astronaut Dave Wolf
- Lt. Col. Patrick Barrett, weather officer with the Air Force's 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron
- Chris Meinert, STS-132 Closeout Crew member
- Madi Sengupta (@msengupta), Space Station Robotics instructor at NASA's Johnson Space Center
- Amiko Kauderer, @NASA_Johnson team member leading STS-132 mission Tweetup
2:20 p.m. -- Launch of space shuttle Atlantis on the STS-132 mission
~3:30 p.m. -- Post-launch news conference on NASA TV
Following the launch, you are free to depart on your own schedule. If you leave immediately, be prepared to sit in traffic for quite some time. (I don't plan to leave until they make me, when will I ever get to do this again?)

(In the event of a 24-hour delay, we will repeat the launch day schedule, but everything will begin 30 minutes earlier)

NASA Tweetup and Technology
Tweetup participants will have their own air-conditioned tent with video monitors, power outlets, WiFi and tables and chairs. We will have free Wi-Fi available both days. The SSID and WEP Encryption Key for the STS-132 NASA Tweetup will be available at registration.

No Ethernet drops will be available, but the WiFi will provide enough coverage for everyone, and the bandwidth will be about 54meg shared. Video and Skype will work, but it could be slow during heavy use. NASA Tweetup attendees should charge their electronic devices before each day's events. Power will be available only at the tent. You may need to allow your mobile phone to roam to achieve the best cell phone coverage. (54meg, that could be fun based on the lists of gear I see folks are bringing.)

Cameras, video cameras and tripods are allowed. However, if this is your first launch, we strongly suggest you put the camera down and enjoy the experience. After all, we have photographers and videographers there, too.

NASA will use UStream to broadcast the 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. portion of the May 13 NASA Tweetup at Portions of the NASA Tweetup may be broadcast on NASA Television and online at Photos will be posted online during and/or after the event at Your participation in the event signals your consent to appear on air and online. (Be sure to watch for me.)

The Twitter account for the Tweetup is @nasatweetup. We are following all those who are confirmed to attend. You can view the list of attendees at (I'm on the official list.) If you are not already following @nasatweetup, please do so; we will post updates and reminders about the event there. Feel free to send questions you may have to that Twitter account. We will use #NASATweetup as the hashtag.

About Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39 Press Site
The STS-132 Tweetup will be conducted in an air-conditioned tent at the Launch Complex 39 Press Site, where news media from around the world are working. You may be approached by reporters requesting to interview or photograph you. If you don't wish to participate, simply decline their requests. (Yeah, like I'm going to decline any requests.) Attendees will have access to the grass area by the launch countdown clock and flag, as well as the bleachers. However, we ask that you refrain from setting up or walking directly in front of the countdown clock, where you will be in the line-of-site shots for many of the news organizations. (Now that could be embarrassing.)

You may leave the tent and roam around the press site, but you are not permitted to leave the press site without an official public affairs escort. You also are not permitted to enter the press site auditorium, where news conferences are conducted (the large yellow building with metal siding) or any private news media facilities (the trailers and buildings you see on the hill toward the front of the tent). You may enter the NASA News Center (the concrete building with the wedge-shaped roof, also on the hill), but we ask that you keep your visit short to respect the needs of the reporters who will be hard at work there. When you walk about, please be aware of equipment set up and broadcasts going on and try to stay out of their shots. (Watch for the top of my head.)

Restrooms are located in a concrete building on the hill, behind the press site auditorium.

If you fail to follow the rules and heed the instructions of NASA security and your public affairs escorts, you could lose your credential and your privileges to attend the launch.

Your STS-132 Tweetup Credential
Your badge will provide admission to the Launch Complex 39 Press Site both days. DO NOT LOSE YOUR CREDENTIAL. You must have your Tweetup badge and government-issued photo identification with you at all times. Please note: Your STS-132 Tweetup confirmation and registration does not qualify you for news media credentials at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, now or in the future.

Tickets to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
You do not need to purchase an admission ticket for the Visitor Complex. We will provide you admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, including the Shuttle Launch Experience attraction, IMAX space films and exhibits and shows at the main site. Your Visitor Complex ticket will be valid May 12-14. The Visitor Complex is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thus, your best opportunities to use this ticket will be May 12 or after launch on May 14. If you would like to pick up your ticket May 12, you may do so from the Tweetup Registration area of the Kennedy Space Center Press Accreditation Building on SR-3 between 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m. If you would like to upgrade your ticket, you may do so at a discounted price at the Visitor Complex. (I will be spending a bit of time here.)

Appropriate dress
For the L-1 bus tour of Kennedy Space Center on May 13, you must wear long pants and closed, low-heeled shoes. Tank tops are not permitted. (Bummer, most of my wardrboe is tank tops.)

In the event of a launch scrub on May 14
Launching humans into space is a very complex business, and the safety of the crew is NASA’s number one priority. Hundreds of different factors can cause a scheduled launch date to change numerous times. If the launch date moves or delays prior to this planned event, NASA will make every attempt to adjust the Tweetup schedule accordingly to coincide with the launch and will notify you about this change. If on the first launch attempt (L-0, currently May 14), the launch is delayed for 24 hours, NASA will provide you the opportunity to visit the press site again for the second launch attempt. In that event, the launch day schedule will begin 30 minutes earlier. (What isn't clear is what happens if they have a third or fourth scrub.)

FOLLOW THE LAUNCH: It is your responsibility to keep up with the date and time of the shuttle launch. Follow @NASA on Twitter to receive regular launch updates. You also can receive regular launch updates at Updates also are available by calling 321-867-2525. We will e-mail you if there is a major change to the agenda, such as a scrub early in the morning during fueling. You can view a schedule of the milestones to launch at: A media briefing and events schedule is online at

NASA’s Safety Statement
NASA's Kennedy Space Center is part of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. While on Kennedy Space Center you may encounter a variety of wildlife, including alligators and poisonous snakes. If you see such an animal, do not approach it or attempt to feed it. Please notify a public affairs officer or other NASA personnel.

Please be advised that hazards are inherent in launching and launch viewing of a space shuttle mission. By accepting the invitation to view the launch or landing you do so with the understanding of the potential risk. Although NASA applies stringent range safety principles and techniques to protect the general public, workforce and property for all areas of the Kennedy Space Center during launch, in the event of an inadvertent circumstance, hazards including debris, blast and toxics could occur.

It is imperative that you stay within controlled areas with your group and strictly follow all instructions provided by NASA. Although an accident during lift-off of the space shuttle is highly unlikely, some safety precautions are necessary. As is the case with the launch of a space vehicle, a potential danger exists from toxic vapors contained in any cloud formed as a result of a launch mishap. In the event of an accident, all persons at NASA's Kennedy Space Center should take shelter immediately in the nearest air-conditioned building.