• Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Redux
  • Flickr
  • RSS

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


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


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.

NASA Torch Bearer Ceremony Proposal

Feel free to be highly critical, if we want to get this idea off the ground, this idea needs to be highly polished.

NASA Torch Bearer Ceremony – A
celebration of the final launch of the Space Shuttle


After 134 fights of the Space Shuttle,
the shuttle program is coming to an end. While every program must
end, there is a general consensus in the space community that the
general public does not understand the vast and international impact
of the Space Transportation System. This ceremony is designed to show
the public the reach of NASA, in terms of economic impact and the
number of people driven to reach higher after they were inspired by
a shuttle mission.

General opinion of the space program
is very low. In the HarrisInteractive Poll
Closing the Budget Deficit: U.S. Adults Strongly Resist Raising Any
Except “Sin Taxes” Or Cutting Major Programs
opinion is highlighted. The poll found that it’s sample of 2,223
adults, when “[g]iven a list of twelve federal government programs
and asked to pick two which should be
cut… space programs top[ped] the list by a wide margin (51%)
”. It is
strange that the public would want to cut a program that has such a
vast impact. Assuming that the problem behind this lack of support is
lack of insight into the impact of the space program, this ceremony
will increase public opinion of the space program by increasing
awareness of the impact. The University of Chicago’s News Office
Americans Want to Spend More on Education, Health
further confirms this lack of support by placing the space program
on a list of 22 federal program that people want to cut.

last shuttle launch is the perfect time to demonstrate the impact of
space activity since the nation is deciding whether or not space is
worth pursuing at this moment. If the full impact of space is brought
to light, then space will remain a national priority in one form or


  1. To have at least 25% of the people
    who has been employed by or inspired by the space program
    participate in running the torch or organizing this event. In
    addition, we will also have space fans speculating/cheering
    at this event so that news cameras will see the huge numbers
    of people who have been effected by the space program

  2. To double viewership of a shuttle
    launch (including TV and Internet)

  3. To reach 500,000 Americans with a
    pro-space message

  4. To raise $1,000,000 for STEM

  5. To increase discussion of the
    space program in local media (at least 50% of towns we run in are expected to talk about this)


In general, the event will be managed
by national organizers to deal with the political and legal issues
with moving across boarders. Then, regional managers will handle
every 1,000 miles and 10 sub-managers to manage the runners in their
100 mile sections.

To complete object one, people who
have been effect by the space program will register on the event’s
website. When they register, people will receive a t-shirt to wear
when the torch travels through their town and a pin to wear as long
as the torch is burning. The costs will be handled by sponsors.
Through the size of this event, we hope objective 2,3 and 5 will be
accomplished. Objective 4 will be completed by consistently
encouraging people to donate to STEM education organisations through
the event.

Overview of ceremony:

At exactly
06:07 UTC on
July 20th, a
stream of RP-1 will be ignited at the same place where Yuri Gagarin
took off. This first flame will represent all human spaceflight. The fire will burn
until 20:17 UTC when a laser, aimed at the retroreflectors on the
moon, reaches Earth. This will allow a fuse to drop into the RP-1
fire, which will ignite the torch.

will carry the torch for a mile each. After carrying the
torch through the countries below, the torch will arrive at Kennedy
Space Center at the time of the launch.

Countries Visited:

The tour will visit the follow
countries, in this order: (This is every country with a space program)

  1. Russia

  2. Japan

  3. South Korea

  4. North Korea

  5. China

  6. Thailand

  7. Vietnam

  8. Malaysia

  9. Singapore

  10. Indonesia

  11. Australia

  12. Sri Lanka

  13. Bangladesh

  14. India

  15. Pakistan

  16. Iran

  17. Kazakhstan

  18. Saudi Arabia

  19. Israel

  20. Egypt

  21. Turkey

  22. Azerbaijan

  23. Bulgaria

  24. Greece

  25. Romania

  26. Ukraine

  27. Hungary

  28. Sweden

  29. Norway

  30. Denmark

  31. Poland

  32. Czech Republic

  33. Netherlands

  34. Germany

  35. Austria

  36. Italy

  37. Switzerland

  38. France

  39. Belgium

  40. UK

  41. Spain

  42. Portugal

  43. Morocco

  44. Algeria

  45. Nigeria

  46. Uruguay

  47. Argentina

  48. Peru

  49. Ecuador

  50. Brazil

  51. Venezuela

  52. Columbia

  53. Mexico

  54. United States (Continental)

  55. Canada

  56. United States (Alaska)

  57. Canada

  58. Unites States (Continental)


agencies will know this event is successful if:

  1. This
    event is covered by the media

  2. $1,000,000 dollars is raised for STEM education

  3. A
    statistically significant increase in public opinion of space


are yet to be determined, but each town require a motorcade or parade permit.
These permits tend to be under $200 each. There is also a chance that
security will be required, in which case, towns will expect
compensation for the costs of a police presence. Costs are expected
to rival those of the Olympic torch relay.


  1. We
    may have trouble having an international event since we will have to
    convince other nations that this celebration is about more then the
    US space program.

  2. Timing
    – Having the torch delivered to the launch pad at the time of the
    final shuttle launch will be a challenge, we would only have a small
    margin of error.

  3. Since
    all members of this event will be volunteers, we will need a large number of people working on this project.

My Crazy Idea for the Last Shuttle Launch

    The shuttle is a igniter. Every member
of the Space Tweep Society knows that personally, I see your
excitement and passion dripping the the brilliant content produced by
this community. Stunning photographs, amazing songs and heart filled
essays all stand as proof of our passion. I can see yet more people,
outside our community, filled with the same spirit. I was amazed to
see the number of views on SpaceVidCast hours before the launch of
STS-132, I was encouraged by the conversations I had at the AIAA’s
DBF contest, students who all seemed to be answering the same call
broadcasted by the shuttle. The shuttle is simply a match that
lights up the passions of people everywhere.

    Let us return the favor.

    Let us give the shuttle a proper
goodbye by igniting it. Let us carry a torch through every site and
every town that produced, designed, tested, maintained or cheered for
the shuttle. Let this torch be carried by every person who the
shuttle has ignited. This torch should be the firing switch for the
last STS mission, we should light a fuse with it that sends our hopes,
dreams and wishes for the space program into the future. With this
last shuttle let every person see what the shuttle has done for us.
Let us ignite whoever the shuttle hasn’t reached with this torch.
Yes, this idea is copied from the Olympics, but the message is
important enough that it must be seen.

    So, that’s my crazy idea. Are you in?