I was one of the lucky chosen few who was invited to attend the NASA Tweet Up STS-133. After 26 years of service, this launch is Space Shuttle Discovery’s last flight. And I have finally begun to understand the significance of this when I went to Kennedy Space Center today for Day #1 of the NASA Tweet Up.
Some readers may remember the Top 5′s previous trip to KSC. This was before any cuts were made to the Space Program’s funding, before thousands of people lost their jobs, and optimism over the new rocket program was still in the air.
Today, optimism was very much in the air, but I could not help but taste the bittersweet celebration of those gathered for the tweet up. 150 space enthusiasts from 38 different countries assembled to experience, learn about, and toast the American Space Program. However, the roads of KSC were much less crowded, and it was apparent there were fewer workers and personnel. Central Florida is definitely feeling the pain of NASA’s reshuffling.
However, NASA certainly did the tweet up right! From the very first official email and pass accreditation to the uber-cool parking space (right by the VAB) and the air conditioned VIP tent, we were treated first class all the way!
From getting to listen to several NASA “big wigs” and astronauts, and then meeting Jason Goldman (A really big deal at Twitter!), we were given thrill after thrill!
We were then privy to two incredible demonstrations: 1) ACES Suit (think massive survival suit) and 2) Robonaut 2 (think Robocop in real life!).
Just being around all these space nuts was enough to be thankful I spent the day at KSC. From NASA Flow Director Stephanie Stilson saying, “The most important thing is for NASA to finish the Space Shuttle the right way until the very end,” to astronaut Ron Garan saying, “Everyone should have the right to dream to go to the stars,” what an inspiring time! I definitely want to go into space in my lifetime!
Enjoy this recap video of my incredible day and check out the totally awesome Robonaut 2: