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Space Shuttle

1st European SpaceTweetup #Spacetacular!!

1st European SpaceTweetup #Spacetacular!!

On 18 September, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR, @dlr_en) and the European Space Agency (ESA, @esa) invited 60 lucky Twitter followers to the first European SpaceTweetup.  Among them some of our most prominent members, @flyingjenny, @herrea, @CraftLass, @travelholic, @amoroso, @marcozambi, @SpaceKate, @DrLucyRogers and @rocketman528. I (@akanel) was also lucky to be invited – and this was my first Tweetup ever!

The SpaceTweetup took place on German Aerospace Day at the joint DLR and European Astronaut Centre site in Cologne.  It was an amazing day, which not even the German grey and rainy weather could spoil!  …it did, of course, make our photographs a bit murky, but that’s about it!

The SpaceTweetup program was full and exciting.  So many thrills packed inside approx. 10 hours that could have easily been the object of two or more separate events.  For those who didn’t get to attend, a four hour (!) long selection of the best moments is available on ESA’s site.


Photo credit: @SimSullen

The day started very excitingly.  We visited and learned about the SOFIΑ Project (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), DLR and NASA’s impressive airborne telescope.  Mounted on a Boeing 747SP aircraft modified by L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, SOFIA has a 2.5 meter reflecting telescope, which makes measurements during flight!  High above the disturbances caused by Earth’s atmosphere, but also easily accessible for maintenance and modifications, SOFIA combines the advantages of space telescopes, like Herschel and Hubble, with the ease of ground based telescopes.

The science done on SOFIA is planned by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and the Deutsches SOFIA Institut (DSI) under the leadership of NASA Ames Research Centre.  Observing mostly in the far infrared, SOFIA will be used to study many different kinds of astronomical objects and phenomena, such as e.g. star birth and death, formation of new solar systems, identification of complex molecules in space (such as organic materials necessary for life), planets, comets and asteroids in our own solar system, nebulae and dust in galaxies and black holes at the centre of galaxies, helping to answer many fundamental questions about the creation and evolution of the Universe.

SOFIA Telescope. Photo credit: @Brigitte_Ba


Best of 2011 Space Shuttle Photos (STS-133, STS-134 & STS-135)

It took me awhile to prepare this set of photos as I wanted to pick the absolute best of my 2011 experience with the final 3 Shuttle launches in Florida (plus one scrub!). I wanted to portray the craziness that occurs in the press site, but more importantly the beauty of this historic exploration program. The final photo makes my eyes a little puffy as it portrays one of the crew check-out team (#1) walking out of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) after saying his final goodbyes and receiving many congratulations from colleagues and strangers. The Shuttle program has been launching my entire life and I was lucky to witness 5 launches (125, 132, 133, 134, 135) and a 3 scrubs (127, 127, 134), I was there for SpaceShipOne’s three flights in 2004, and I’m optimistic about the future of human exploration in space.

These photos were originally posted on my website (I tweet as “RyInSpace” regularly, but I don’t blog on my site often): www.RyInSpace.com


Glory Days: 30 Years of Space Shuttle Flights

Today, I was in a mood for nostalgia about the end of an era of an American icon. For thirty years, the Space Shuttle has been an iconic symbol of America.

The design of the Space Shuttle advanced engineering and techn0logy. Well, NASA’s needs from the very beginning advanced technology.

I was looking for an appropriate musical tribute that conveyed my feelings, my emotions of the close of an era of manned spaceflight.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s “Glory Days,” I think is an appropriate song to recognize the accomplishments of the Space Shuttle fleet and those that maintained her.

I searched high and low for the appropriate E Street video that also featured the “Big Man,” Clarence Clemons; may he rest in peace. I was entering the workforce when Springsteen had his first hit with “Born to Run.”

I was “dancing in my chair” screening videos and found this video.

This is to you guys and gals that make the impossible, possible.

Now, everybody get out of your chair and shout “OH YEA!”

Space Shuttle Mission Schedules: Late 2007-2011

I just uploaded my collection of Space Shuttle mission schedules here.  The zip files include all of NASA’s mission schedules, including as many revisions published during the missions. Missions in this zip file are: STS-119, STS-122, STS-123, STS-124, STS-125, STS-126, STS-127, STS-128, STS-129, STS-130, STS-131, STS-132, STS-133, STS-134, and STS-135.

You can use these Excel files in conjunction with the free Windows program I wrote: NASA Space Shuttle TV Schedule Transfer to Outlook Calendar.  It reads the Excel file that NASA published for each Space Shuttle mission and copies the events into the Calendar of Microsoft’s Office Outlook.

Project page

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.

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!

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.

STS-135: The Last Shuttle

STS-135: The Last Shuttle

With the end of the shuttle era and for the foreseeable future, our nation’s maned space flight program, we wanted to have a place where tweeps can come and leave their thoughts, memories, experiences, etc involving the space shuttle program. Leave your comments below and we’ll archive them on a special page after landing / wheel stop.

Twitter Resources for @NASA Launch of Atlantis (STS-135)

The @NASA sponsored @NASATweetup held at the iconic countdown clock at the press site:

Space View Park Tweetup:

NASA Causeway:

Follow the @NASA_Astronauts #FinalFour: @Astro_Ferg @Astro_Doug @Astro_Sandy @Astro_Rex

Let’s Start a New Twitter Trend for STS-135

Let's Start a New Twitter Trend for STS-135

Let’s start a new twitter trend for the final Space Shuttle mission, STS-135, the final launch of Atlantis.

Since there are just four astronauts on Atlantis, I propose using the Twitter hastag #FinalFour when tweeting about #STS135.

@Astro_Ferg – Christopher Ferguson (CDR)
@Astro_Wheels – Douglas G. Hurley (PLT)
@Astro_Sandy – Sandra H. Magnus (MS)
@Astro_Rex – Rex J. Walheim (MS)

The NCAA may claim a Copyright or Trademark to the Final Four, but Chris, Doug, Sandy, and Rex are the Final Four astronauts to ride on the Space Shuttle.