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Monthly archive July, 2011

A magical journey inside the Johnson Space Center

Originally published http://absolutspaceguy.posterous.com.

(JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Texas) — Lying on my back strapped in with a five-point harness preparing to lift-off in the space shuttle was the highlight of my second NASA tweetup at the Johnson Space Center this week.

After viewing over thirty space shuttle launches from the Kennedy Space Center I was ready to take the ride of a lifetime.

Strapped into the same space shuttle simulator in which every astronaut since STS-1 have used since 1981, the four of us waited for the countdown to reach zero as we rested on our backs and the excitement began to build.

Every space shuttle crew sat on the same flight deck in which I sat. And now it was my turn.

Minutes earlier, Michael Grabois — who has worked in the simulator operations for over a decade to support the space shuttle crews — gave us a detailed briefing on what to expect and what he and his team do during a sim.

As the final space shuttle flight soared over Johnson and the Houston landscape 240 miles above, I awaited my own launch as Mission Specialist 2 – the flight engineer.


Thank You!

Thank You!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank every current and former member of the shuttle program, technicians, specialists, engineers, scientists, staff on a spectacular 30 years. Words cannot express enough our gratitude for your service. Leave your comments below if you’d like to say thanks. Many of those involved in the program do frequent the site and I am sure would love to hear from you.


As a musician, you’d probably think my heroes would be the musicians who inspire me. While I give them credit for making me the artist that I am, my musical heroes tend to be more the technical and business people who created the ability for me to be a truly independent artist. The engineers at ProTools and the wizards behind Audacity, for example, especially the latter, since they do it in an open-source way that gives me the ability to record a demo on my laptop wherever I may be without spending a dime. This is important since I’m a classic example of struggling artist, especially since I’m still sort of a newbie at being on this side of the microphone. Then there are the people at Bandcamp, Tunecore, and Reverbnation who create the opportunities for us independents to have many of the marketing advantages of major players in the industry. These people have enabled an outright revolution that is making the world of music a far better place. Despite my lack of love for major labels I also admire the people who do the real work of getting their music out, the assistants and “little people” who go about their duties with passion and vigor without getting any of the credit or even a big enough paycheck to live in the cities they have to live in to do their work or usually even a simple, “Thank you.” I was one of them once, and it’s the hardest work in the industry. Makes being a musician feel like a piece of cake even when I’m working 16 hour days or exhausted from traveling and promoting myself.


LandingTweetupNL: Bringing Dutch spacetweeps together

LandingTweetupNL: Bringing Dutch spacetweeps together

In an attempt to bring some spacetweep virus dust across the Atlantic, Dutch Space Tweep Society member Remco Timmermans has teamed up with Holland Space Center to organize a small-scale tweetup around the STS-135 landing next week. During the tweetup, Remco – a recent STS-135 launch NASATweetup alumnus – will share his NASATweetup stories and show photos and videos shot during the Atlantis launch event. After this presentation the NASA TV HD live stream of the landing will be shown on a large screen.

All information on this first ever Dutch #LandingTweetupNL can be found on the Holland Space Center website. Holland Space Center is an initiative to spread the excitement of space flight and astronomy to primary and secondary education in The Netherlands. It uses educational material issued by ESA and national European space agencies to tell students of ages of 4 to 18 about space exploration. It also organizes teacher and corporate events around space exploration.

Space Tweep Society featured on Lands’ End Blog

I’d like to thank our friends at Lands’ End for the wonderful post they published about the Space Tweep Society. Lands’ End has been working with us for nearly two years to make our logo available to Tweeps around the globe on a variety of items including shirts, hats, jackets, and more. They even sponsored our 1st anniversary celebration last May by providing embroidered items that we gave away as prizes.

If you’d like to order clothing from them with our embroidered logos, click on the link that says “shop” in our main menu bar to get to our Lands’ End store. You can read the rest of their post here.

Space Frontier Foundation & Hacker Dojo Host #NewSpaceTweetup

Space Frontier Foundation & Hacker Dojo Host #NewSpaceTweetup

As part of the NewSpace 2011 Conference, the Space Frontier Foundation and the Hacker Dojo are hosting the #NewSpaceTweetup to integrate hacker entrepreneurship with the commercial space community. The social event is open to the space enthusiastic public and conference attendees. The event will be held at the Hacker Dojo, which is a few blocks from the NASA Ames facility, and there will be carpools from both Ames and the conference hotel available. Come join us on Friday, July 29 from 7-10pm and enjoy food, beverages, and space giveaways.

No registration is required but please let organizer/space tweep Marimikel Charrier know if you are thinking of coming so we can get a headcount. Contact Marimikel at Marimikel.Charrier@SpaceFrontier.org or Twitter.com/Marimikel.

This event is sponsored by the Space Frontier Foundation and the Hacker Dojo. For more information, visit newspace.spacefrontier.org, twitter.com/NewSpaceCon, or email Marimikel.

Event Details:

Friday, July 29 from 7-10 PM

Hacker Dojo

140 South Whisman Road
Mountain View, CA

Lets Talk!

I know a good few Space Tweeps have landed on Google+ recently and I think, for the moment, it represents an exciting new social media outlet for our experiences and ideas. It’s invite-only testing for now but already I have over 50 people in my Space Tweeps circle, and I’m sure there are many more!

One feature I’m itching to try and leverage for open discussions with other Tweeps is the ‘Google Hangouts.’ Essentially it’s video/audio chat with really awesome group integration.

Hangouts are easy to join if you already have Google+ and you can either use video/audio or audio only if you prefer. The only setup you need to do is to ensure the Google Video and Audio plugin is installed on your computer and then setup you microphone and video camera.

You can do this two ways:

  • When you join your first Hangout
  • If you want to turn up prepared (it takes about 5 minutes to download and install) you can click ‘Start a Hangout’ and the popup window will ask you to install the plugin, once you’ve installed the plugin and it is working you can close the Hangout window without starting.

The James Webb Space Telescope

Hello fellow members of the #spacetweepgeekdom !

It’s a great morning here. I am a #NASATweetup alum of the June 6, 2011 #NASATweetup @NASAJPL in California some weeks ago. It is a pleasure not only to be so much more involved with NASA now, but to interact with other spacetweeps. You truly are a people I grok.

I am writing this post for only one quick, simple reason. The James Webb Space Telescope is in danger of losing its funding. Congress will be voting in part to eliminate its funding this Wednesday July 13, 2011. If you are interested in the fight to prevent this, then I have some links for you:

Sign the petition to save James Webb



I only want to bring this to your attention. Some of you no doubt are interested in this. Others may not think it is worth the time and effort to save JWST. That’s fine on both counts. If the above links are useful, then take them. If not, then please just ignore the post. There is no reason to have a discussion of the merits of saving/canceling JWST here on the Space Tweep Society website.

Thanks for your time, and do have a great day =)


iPhone 4 Video of STS-135 Launch

This is video I captured with my iPhone which I had mounted on top of my Canon 7D of the launch. The actual launch starts around the 3:00 mark, but I kept the earlier parts in as you can hear the delay and hold as NASA checks an element the Commander wanted reviewed. Enjoy!

Is Google+ worth your time?

Hi all, @erikhess here, I posted a small blog entry over on G+ about how I think it might be worth investigating for spacetweeps. To be honest, I don’t spend nearly enough time here on the blog, and it’s probably mostly I feel like my online time is limited and can barely keep up with Twitter and Facebook. I love the posts, but I wonder if this could become more closely integrated with other social tools for ease of viewing. The twitter integration here looks pretty cool, but I think I might still miss things if I’m not online when it’s tweeted. I wonder if we could cross-post with a site like G+?

If you’re on G+, please add me to your circles- I’ve started adding people I recognize to my “space” circle, so come on over and read it and share your thoughts.

Space Tweep Society, STS-135 NASA Tweetup receives mention on Canadian Radio

SpaceTweepSociety.org and the STS-135 Kennedy Space Center NASATweetup is reported on by Charles Atkeison (@AbsolutSpaceGuy) on Canada’s News Talk Radio in Saskatchewan – 980 AM Regina and 650 AM Saskatoon, on July 7, 2011, including an update on L-1 activities for space shuttle Atlantis.

Share your experiences!

Meco, the SpaceTweep Society mascot, in Space Shuttle Discovery's payload bay

You’ve probably noticed the Space Tweep Society has a brand new website. What you may not have realized is the biggest improvement of all. With our new system of logging in with Twitter, any tweep who has something to say about space (you) can write a post here, and submit it for moderation. You can even cross post from your own blog and include a link back to the original. This is a great way to get your posts in front of a larger audience.

At this historic time- the end of the space shuttle era- we’re especially interested in hearing what you have to say. So please, log in with Twitter and share your thoughts with us. We encourage you to include an image or more if you like. The society is a diverse group of people, and we’re interested in hearing about a large variety of space and astronomy related topics. For instance, you could write about the end of the shuttle program, or about the new beginnings in commercial space. You could post about heliophysics, astrophotography, or the upcoming @NASAJuno Tweetup. You could even write about space inspired art or music, space history, space memorabilia, or any other space-related topic that inspires you to write. The choice is yours.

Can’t wait to read your posts!

Note: Please read over our very basic posting rules if you’ve haven’t authored posts here before.