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Monthly archive April, 2011

Looking for Historical Space Shuttle Mission Schedules (Excel Format)

Hey fellow Space Tweeps,

I am looking for Space Shuttle mission schedules that NASA published in Microsoft Office Excel format for the missions prior to 2008.

I have the Space Shuttle missions from 2008 through today, with their revisions from rev 0 to the revision that includes “wheel stop.” I will share the Excel files that I saved from NASA.

I wrote a program that transfers the mission events from Excel to the calendar in Microsoft Office Outlook. It is free. The program is available at http://nasaststvschedule.codeplex.com/.

When I read about the Microsoft blog entry on their Microsoft Software Developers Network (MSDN) announcement that programmers could develop applications using the “Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO),” I heard a voice inside my head shouting “Write this program!”

I am essentially a lazy person. If a computer can do the job, so be it. I would manually enter significant events, such as launches and landings, and EVA’si into my calendar. But even manually updating that information could be a chore. But with this program I wrote, adding and updating Space Shuttle missions to my calendar in Outlook is a piece of cake.

So, if any Space Tweeps have a full set of Space Shuttle mission schedules that NASA published in Excel format, I am interested.

I will publish the mission schedules and their revisions at the project site.

Thank you,


Space and Lego, a Love Story

Hello all. For those that don’t know me, I’m John Knight. In Space Tweep circles I’m known as the guy who has the MECO (one and only) tattoo and I’m the only non-Lego employee to have designed a Lego set for NASA (The SDO, Solar Dynamic Observatory set!). Today I wanted to share a bit about my love of Lego and one of the best tools out there for Lego fans, Lego Digital Designer.

I’ve been collecting and playing with Lego bricks for over 35 years. I can’t recommend them enough as a toy for helping develop motor skills, eye hand coordination, appreciation for engineering, robotics and art. If you have every shopped for or purchased Lego, you know that they are expensive. I am very brand loyal to  the Lego brand despite the cost simply because I know the quality of the product is worth it and the company really does a great job of taking care of the customers. This brings me to Lego Digital Designer (LDD). I’ve amassed over 100,000 bricks in my collection and sometimes that’s not enough to build some of the ideas I come up with.  LDD is a free program that essentially gives you an unlimited supply of Lego bricks to play with in a friendly and easy to use computer aided design program created by the folks at Lego. This program is simple enough for children 6+years to have fun with and sophisticated enough for the hardcore enthusiast, like myself, to have countless hours of fun with. You can download it here: http://ldd.lego.com/



Help me bring space to my school!

I, as many of you, was changed by a #nasatweetup experience. Even if I wasn’t strictly a part of it, I got to spend a lot of time with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and I learned a lot. In the end, the experience sort of pushed me to start a project that I’ve had in my head for a while: bringing space outreach to my school.

(For those of you who don’t know I’m 16 years old, and I’m currently in 10th grade, which would correspond to being a junior in the US with the school system here, in Costa Rica.)

So, being a space geek I always end up talking about space. All the time. In every setting. Even in school. There I’ve realized some people find space interesting, and would like to learn more about it all, they just don’t have the resources, or they don’t know where to start. So I decided I would take on the challenge to open some sort of club, where I can bring space closer to my peers and hopefully get some more future scientists! Now, that’s my motivation, but I guess I’ll need some help!

I tried hard to think of something to do, and I came up with building a hypothetic colony somewhere in the solar system, not in a sci-fi way, but something “realistic”. For example, to decide where to “settle” we research (and ideally find someone that can give us a talk -even if it’s just via skype, or something- on the subject), and so on, with how to get there, how the sun works, and thus what the colony has to have in order to protect our hypothetical astronauts, etc. And then, at the end of the year we would somehow present our project to the rest of the school

I thought this would be an interesting project because it would get people interested in space, but also engaged and having fun! But if any of you have any better ideas, or you can think of something easier to get going, I’d appreciate your suggestions. And the main reason I’m writing this: If you think you can help me with a talk on pretty much any subject I’d really appreciate it! I am lucky enough to know so many smart people that know a lot about space, and I wanna share that with others…

So, for any suggestions, or if you think you can and want to help, please comment here, or DM me!


U.S. Space & Rocket Center to host STS-134 Tweetup

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center‘s Space Camp announced this afternoon that they will host their inaugural Tweet-up for 16 lucky people to coincide with the April 29 launch of space shuttle Endeavour.

The two-day Tweet-up is scheduled for April 28 and 29, and will focus on tours of nearby Marshall Space Flight Center and the Space & Rocket Center’s museum and rides.

Registration begins on April 7 and will close on April 12.

Those registering need to be U.S. citizens with a government issued photo ID; and follow @SpaceCampUSA and/or their Aviation Challenge Twitter feed @check_six.

“We will provide lunch and dinner meals onsite,” Social Media Manager Charity Stewart stated today. “Part of the Tweetup will include a tour of Redstone Arsenal and Marshall Space Flight Center.”

Space Camp’s STS-134 Tweetup event will concluded with a big screen viewing of the afternoon launch of Endeavour at 2:47 p.m. CDT.

The Davidson Center building is home to one of the three actual Saturn 5 rockets which was to have flown on Apollo 18, 19 or 20.

Mark your calendar and prepare to register beginning on Thursday morning at http://www.spacecamp.com/tweetup.

Russian launch to mark golden anniversary of human spaceflight


Russia and the world will begin celebrations Tuesday of the golden anniversary of humankind’s first steps into space with the launch of two Russians and one American aboard a Soyuz bound for the International Space Station.

The flight will also carry Meco, the Space Tweep Society Birdonaut, into orbit for a lengthy stay aboard the orbiting lab.

It was April 12, 1961, in which Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin lifted-off from a then-secret launch site to become the first human ever to not only fly in space but to orbit the earth.

Russia in his honor has named the crew’s Soyuz TMA21 spacecraft Gagarin in honor of the late-cosmonaut.

Two Cosmonauts, Soyuz commander Aleksander Samokutyaev and flight engineer Andrei Borisenko, and NASA astronaut and flight engineer Ron Garan are scheduled to lift-off aboard a Soyuz-FG rocket on April 4 at 6:18 p.m. EDT (4:18 a.m. April 5 local time), from the Baikonur Cosmosdrome in western Kazakhstan.