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Day 4 - NASA Tweetup

Part 1

sunny 35 °C

This was the first thing that I put on after my clothes! My official pass.... Wow.... Today was the day I was going to Kennedy Space Centre (KSC)


When we arrived at KSC, We were directed into a huge room laid out for us all. Power sources so we could tweet during the afternoon.

I sat at a table with some of my fellow housemates. We had to introduce ourselves saying our real name, Twitter handle and an interesting fact. My interesting fact was that I was the first and only female Manager of the Airfield at one of the Worlds busiest airports - London Heathrow! Hearing some people's introductions I did wonder how on earth I was there, Scientists, Mathematicians, Physics experts, Space experts and then me! - I will explain why I think I was there when I do my summary of the trip.


We were all put on coaches and taken off ready for our tour, Places visitors etc never get to see. I had rough expectations what we would see but everything we saw, heard and did totally surpassed everything I had imagined.

The first stop was at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)

We were told do not look up when you first walk in, Just keep walking then look.... I felt dizzy when I did look up. It was so damn high and enormous! I have never been in such a building and had the sense of space, Not even Terminal 5 at Heathrow before it was fitted out. You could almost feel the emotions that people had left in their from when they had worked there. We were all so quiet and our heads I believe full of our own thoughts.

Some facts about the VAB taken from Wikipedia:

  • The Vehicle (originally Vertical) Assembly Building, or VAB, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) was used to assemble and house American manned launch vehicles from 1968-2011. It is the fourth largest building in the world by volume.[citation needed] The building is at Launch Complex 39 at KSC.
  • The VAB is the largest single-story building in the world, was the tallest building in Florida until 1974, and is still the tallest building in the United States outside an urban area.
  • The VAB is 526 feet (160.3 m) tall, 716 feet (218.2 m) long and 518 feet (157.9 m) wide. It covers 8 acres (3 ha), and encloses 129,428,000 cubic feet (3,665,000 m3) of space. The building has 10,000 tons of air conditioning equipment, including 125 ventilators on the roof supported by four large air handlers (four cylindrical structures west of the building) to keep moisture under control. Air in the building can be completely replaced every hour. The interior volume of the building is so vast that it has its own weather, including "rain clouds form[ing] below the ceiling on very humid days",which the moisture reduction systems are designed to minimise.
  • There are four entries to the bays located inside the building, which are the four largest doors in the world. Each door is 456 feet (139.0 m) high and takes 45 minutes to completely open or close. The north entry that leads to the transfer aisle was widened by 40 feet (12.2 m) to allow entry of the shuttle orbiter. A central slot at the center of the north entry allowed for passage of the orbiter's vertical stabiliser. To lift the components of the Space Transportation System, the VAB housed five overhead bridge cranes, including 2 capable of lifting 325 tons, and 136 other lifting devices.
  • The American flag painted on the building was the largest in the world when added in 1976 as part of United States Bicentennial celebrations, along with the star logo of the anniversary, later replaced by the NASA insignia in 1998. It is 209 feet (63.7 m) high, and 110 feet (33.5 m) wide. Each of the stars on the flag is 6 feet (1.83 m) across, the blue field is the size of a regulation basketball court, and each of the stripes is 9 feet (2.74 m) wide, the width of a standard road lane.

I am hoping the above facts can really make you sense how big this building was.

We were told we were in for a surprise and walked round the corner and there was "Endeavour". I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. This shuttle had been into space. It still had "Space dirt" on it. Bumps, nicks and scrapes. This was the real thing! I have to admit that it just tore at my heart that I was seeing something as special as this. I just could not get enough at looking at every part of her. She was just stunning, A work of art, An engineering feat. Please humour me here as I am going to post quite a few pictures and facts of this wonderful piece of history.


  • Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) is one of the retired orbiters of the Space Shuttle program of NASA, the space agency of the United States. Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger. Endeavour first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49 and its last mission STS-134 was in May 2011. The STS-134 mission was originally planned as the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, but with authorization of the STS-135 mission, Atlantis became the last Space Shuttle to fly.

OV designation OV-105
Country United States
Contract award July 31, 1987
Named after HMS Endeavour (1764)
Status Retired
First flight STS-49 May 7, 1992 – May 16, 1992
Last flight STS-134 May 16, 2011 – June 1, 2011
Number of missions 25
Crews 148
Time spent in space 296 days, 3 hours, 34 minutes, 2 seconds
Number of orbits 4,671
Distance travelled 122,883,151 mi (197,761,262 km)
Satellites deployed 3
Mir dockings 1
ISS dockings 12

These facts just show how exceptional she was..... and I have seen her close up. Still amazed and emotional at the thought of it, Even a week later I can remember exactly how I felt when I saw her!

On the way out of the VAB we were shown on one of the walls where everyone had written their names who had worked on the Space Shuttle Programme - What a fantastic job they all did.

Next stop on the tour was to the clock! I was going to actually touch and stand by "The Clock" that I had watched on TV so many times!

Posted by Fidget 12:34 Archived in USA Tagged nasa grail tweetup Comments (0)

Just over T-2 Until I fly out!

Various information gained today!

Today I started to pack - The trip is really becoming real now. Getting really excited and mind just thinking what I still have to do to make sure everything is ok. Catsitter who is moving in while I am away is visiting tomorrow - Poor guy has a list 3 pages long! JD is nearly packed to go to his sisters house and is looking forward to it, Whilst throwing in the guilt trip that I am going without him! This trip has also cost me another holiday to take him away in October though as I mentioned before!

Packing today was a nightmare I had 2 cats determined to be packed as well as you can see in the picture!!


More information about what is going to happen while we are at NASA emerged today:

RELEASE : 11-285

NASA Invites 150 Lucky Twitter Followers to Launch of Lunar Spacecraft

WASHINGTON -- NASA has invited 150 followers of the agency's Twitter account to a two-day launch Tweetup Sept. 7-8. The Tweetup is expected to culminate in the launch of the twin lunar-bound GRAIL spacecraft aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The launch is targeted for 8:37 a.m. EDT on Sept. 8. The two GRAIL spacecraft will fly in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail from crust to core. The mission also will answer longstanding questions about the moon and provide scientists with a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.

Tweetup participants were selected from more than 800 people who registered online. They will share their Tweetup experiences with their followers through the social networking site Twitter.

Participants represent the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Attendees from the U.S. come from 32 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Beginning at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7, NASA will broadcast a portion of the Tweetup when attendees talk with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden; Jim Adams, deputy director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington; Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge; Sami Asmar, GRAIL deputy project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.; and Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and Frederick P. Rose Director at the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium in New York.

To watch the broadcast, visit:


Participants also will tour NASA's Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral, including a close-up visit to the launch pad.
Reporters interested in interviewing Tweetup attendees should contact Stephanie Schierholz at 202-358-1100 or stephanie.schierholz@nasa.gov. Reporters interested in covering the afternoon program Sept. 7 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex must secure access through Andrea Farmer by 5 p.m. Sept. 6 at 321-449-4318 or afarmer@dncinc.com.

Previously, NASA has invited groups to attend the launch of the Juno spacecraft on its way to Jupiter and five space shuttle launches: Atlantis' STS-129, STS-132 and STS-135 missions, Discovery's STS-133 mission, and Endeavour's STS-134 mission.

To follow participants on Twitter as they experience the prelaunch events and GRAIL's liftoff, follow the #NASATweetup hashtag and the list of attendees at:


NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the mission. For more information about GRAIL, visit:


To connect with NASA on Twitter and other social networking sites, visit:


- end -

I also checked the weather while I am out there - Looking good. Appaerently when it says thunderstorms, They are in the afternoon for just short periods then dry again! This may be a welcome relief!

Predicted Forecast for my Trip

Sun, Sep 4 Few Thunderstorms. Overcast. Hot. 91 °F 75 °F 11 mph / S 74% 113 °F Minimal 63% 0.50"
Mon, Sep 5 Few Thunderstorms. Overcast. Hot. 92 °F 78 °F 11 mph / SSW 70% 112 °F Minimal 63% 1.00"
Tue, Sep 6 Few Thunderstorms. Overcast. Hot. 92 °F 78 °F 9 mph / WNW 74% 116 °F Minimal 55% 0.50"
Wed, Sep 7 A few tstorms. Overcast. Hot. 91 °F 76 °F 11 mph / NE 72% 111 °F Minimal 53% 0.50"
Thu, Sep 8 Mostly sunny. Warm. 89 °F 74 °F 10 mph / WSW 58% 97 °F High 15%
Fri, Sep 9 Mostly sunny. Warm. 91 °F 73 °F 9 mph / WNW 50% 96 °F High 10%
Sat, Sep 10 Mostly sunny. Warm. 89 °F 74 °F 5 mph / NNE 53% 94 °F High 0%
Sun, Sep 11 Partly cloudy. Warm. 90 °F 74 °F 6 mph / E 58% 97 °F High 0%
Mon, Sep 12 More sun than clouds. Warm. 90 °F 75 °F 1 mph / ENE 58% 98 °F High 15%
Tue, Sep 13 Partly cloudy. Warm. 90 °F 73 °F 5 mph / E 62% 101 °F High 10%
Wed, Sep 14 More sun than clouds. Warm. 90 °F 75 °F 11 mph / ENE 66% 103 °F High 10%
Thu, Sep 15 Tstorms late. More clouds than sun. Warm. 91 °F 76 °F 16 mph / NE 68% 105 °F Moderate 37% 0.09"

It says the temp will actually feel like between a 100 and 116F!! - A bit hot I think!!

I still think one of my highlights amongst many will be to meet Sally Ride, I just hope I get a chance to talk to her! Have been reading so much about her - Amazing lady.

Just received notification that NASA has sent out our itineraries - I keep checking my emails as can't wait to see what is planned. So I am hanging on to post this hoping it will arrive before I sleep so I can attach it.
Some of the speakers I have learnt we are going to hear from are people I never thought I would see let alone hear speak personally!
To think until I met @Drlucyrogers NASA was just something I watched on TV and looked in awe at. Lucy has opened my eyes to a totally new world and I don't think I will ever be able to repay her for this. Saying this though if it wasn't for @Dr_Black I would never have met her in the first place. Really great interesting ladies to follow on Twitter!!


Dear Justine Mackinnon,

Your arrival for the GRAIL Tweetup on Sept. 7-8 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is near, and we have some additional information and details for you and some reminders and information you've seen before. Below you'll find a detailed agenda, code of conduct reminders, driving information, the WiFi code and more. We know this is a lot of information, but please read it all carefully.

Code of Conduct:
Please keep in mind you are gaining privileged access and a unique opportunity to experience a NASA launch and activities designed just for you. We expect all participants to behave in a manner befitting the honor and with recognition of this special access. Accordingly, NASA reserves the right to revoke this privilege and confiscate your badge at any time. You are being provided an opportunity and access most NASA employees have never had.

For everyone's safety, some items are banned from the government property of Kennedy Space Center and are listed at the bottom of this email. If you become aware of a Tweetup participant who has brought any of these items on site, please notify NASA employees immediately.

You must show two government-issued identifications (one with a photograph) that match the name provided in your registration information to check in and receive your badge; you must display your Tweetup badge at all times during the events both days. Those without proper identification will not be admitted.

Below is the schedule for Sept. 7-8. Because we are in a dynamic launch environment, the schedule is subject to change. Please remain flexible.

Wednesday, Sept. 7/L-1: Registration and Tweetup Day 1

Badge check-in will begin at 7 a.m. You must check in before 9 a.m. to receive your badge and participate in events both days. Those without proper identification cannot be admitted. All registrants must be at least 18 years old. NASA's Kennedy Space Center is a government facility. You must keep the badge and photo identification with you at all times during the Tweetup. If you do not claim your badge and participate in activities Sept. 7, you will not be able to attend the launch on Sept. 8. You will need to bring your badge with you Sept. 8 to check in for transportation to the launch viewing area on the NASA Causeway.

7 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. – Registration at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (@ExploreSpaceKSC)
9 a.m. – Welcome by Trent Perrotto (@NASA) & Veronica McGregor (@NASAJPL) in the Debus Center (entry at 8:30 a.m.)
9:05 a.m. – Meet the tweeps
9:50 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Tour of NASA's Kennedy Space Center (@NASAKennedy) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, including stops at the Vehicle Assembly Building and Press Site launch countdown clock, Launch Complex 17 and #GRAIL, and Launch Complex 41 from which Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity (@MarsCuriosity) will launch
1 to 3 p.m. – Break/Lunch on your own at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
3 p.m. – Jim Adams (@NASAJim), deputy director, Planetary Division, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, introduces Administrator Charles Bolden
(NASA Television begins http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tweetup)
3:20 p.m. –MoonKAM (@GRAIL_MoonKAM) presentation from the Sally Ride Science (@SallyRideSci) team
3:40 p.m. – Sami Asmar, GRAIL deputy project scientist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
4 p.m. – Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4:20 p.m. – Break
4:30 p.m. – Eyes on the Solar System (@NASA_Eyes) demo with Doug Ellison (@Doug_Ellison), JPL Visualization Producer
5 p.m. – Vern Thorp, manager, NASA Programs, ULA (@ULAlaunch)
5:15 p.m. – Stu Spath, chief spacecraft engineer, Lockheed Martin (@LockheedMartin)
5:30 p.m. – Neil deGrasse Tyson (@NeilTyson), Frederick P. Rose director at the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History (@AMNH)
6 p.m. – Group photo in the rocket garden

For the tour, you must wear long pants and closed, low-heeled shoes. Shirts must have sleeves; sleeveless tops and tank tops are not permitted. If you are not in appropriate attire, you will not get to come on the tour.

Thursday, Sept. 8/ Launch: Tweetup Day 2
6 a.m. – Arrive at the NASA parking lot to board buses. The parking lot where you will meet the buses is located on SR-405 approximately ¼ mile east of U.S. 1. If you are driving east, you will pass the Astronaut Hall of Fame (AHOF) with the shuttle model out front on your right just before arriving at the parking lot, which is on SR-405 just east of the AHOF, which you can find here: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=212229154572677793577.0004abe3a6041a5fc3a29&msa=0. An image is included at the end of the email.
6:30 a.m. – Buses depart for Causeway launch viewing
8:37:06 a.m. – First launch opportunity for GRAIL mission
9:16:12 a.m. – Second launch opportunity
Post-launch – Board buses to return

  • In the event the launch is postponed on Sept. 8, NASA will provide you another opportunity to see the launch on Sept. 9.

Your Tweetup participation includes a ticket to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex that is good for two days. Following the launch would be a great time to use the ticket. Activities taking place post-launch at the Visitor Complex are listed at http://kennedyspacecenter.com/grail-mission-schedule.aspx and include:
10:30 a.m. Astronaut Encounter Theater - Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke will discuss his experiences on the moon’s surface and conduct a book signing.
1 p.m. Astronaut Encounter Theater - Hear about the latest “other-world” discoveries from space experts astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose director at the Hayden Planetarium; and Steven W. Lee, department chair and curator of Planetary Science at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2:30 p.m. Star Trek Bridge - Star Trek’s Lieutentant Uhura, Nichelle Nichols(@realnichelle), will celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first airing of the Star Trek series by signing autographs and taking photos with visitors.

On-site tech needs:
NASA Tweetup attendees should charge their electronic devices before each day's events. You may need to allow your mobile phone to roam to achieve the best cell phone coverage. We will have free power and Wi-Fi available only during the afternoon program Sept. 7 at the Debus Center. No Ethernet drops will be available, but the WiFi should provide enough coverage for everyone. Video and Skype will work, but it could be slow during heavy use.

Cameras, video cameras and tripods are allowed. However, we only have enough places for one seat for each attendee, so any equipment you bring must fit underneath your chair or on the table directly in front of you. If it will take up more space, you need to store it in your vehicle when you are not using it. If this is your first launch, we strongly suggest you put the camera down and enjoy the experience. After all, we have photographers and videographers there, too.

Beginning at 3 p.m. on Sept. 7, NASA will broadcast the Tweetup program on http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tweetup. Portions of the Tweetup may be broadcast on NASA Television, online at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv. Photos may be posted online during and/or after the event at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto or http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov. Your participation in the event signals your consent to appear on air and online.

Tickets to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
You do not need to purchase an admission ticket for the Visitor Complex. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex graciously is providing you admission, including the Shuttle Launch Experience attraction, IMAX space films and exhibits and shows at the main site. You will receive your ticket upon registration and check in.

More information about the launch and mission
In preparation for your attendance at the Tweetup, you may find the following web pages useful for more information about the GRAIL mission and launch countdown.

GRAIL Mission: http://www.nasa.gov/grail and http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/grail and http://moon.mit.edu
Delta II Launch Countdown 101: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/launch/delta_II_count_101.html
GRAIL press kit: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/582116main_GRAIL_launch_press_kit.pdf
GRAIL mission fact sheet: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/578754main_grail.pdf
Video overview of GRAIL's mission: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=108291901
Launching ELV Rockets at KSC: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets

NASA Tweetup online:
The Twitter account for the Tweetup is @NASAtweetup. We are following all those who are confirmed to attend. The hashtags for the event are #NASATweetup and #GRAIL. The list of confirmed NASA Tweetup attendees is at http://twitter.com/nasatweetup/GRAIL-launch. If we are not following you or you are not on the Twitter list, please let us know. Also, don't forget to follow the mission and preparations on Twitter via @NASAJPL, @NASAKennedy and @NASA_LSP.

Things to bring (remember these items must fit at your seat or remain in your car!)
Two government-issued identifications (one with a picture) that match the name provided in your registration information (you must have your photo ID and Tweetup badge with you at all times)
Preferred tweeting device(s) and charger(s)
Paper and pen or Sharpie for autographs
Small umbrella or rain poncho
Money for food and souvenirs
Comfortable, closed-toe shoes
Insect repellant
Food, snacks, beverages, water (soft- and hard-sided coolers are okay)

Bags, purses and other items may be opened and inspected as part of security procedures. Any item you do bring must have a tag with your name and information on it.
NASA’s Safety Statement:
Please be advised that hazards are inherent in launching and launch viewing of a space shuttle mission. By accepting the invitation to view the launch or landing you do so with the understanding of the potential risk. Although NASA applies stringent range safety principles and techniques to protect the general public, workforce and property for all areas of the Kennedy Space Center during launch, in the event of an inadvertent circumstance, hazards including debris, blast and toxics could occur.

It is imperative that you stay within controlled areas with your group and strictly follow all instructions provided by NASA. Although an accident during lift-off of Delta II is highly unlikely, some safety precautions are necessary. As is the case with the launch of a space vehicle, a potential danger exists from toxic vapors contained in any cloud formed as a result of a launch mishap. In the event of an accident, all persons at NASA's Kennedy Space Center should take shelter immediately.

I hope people reading this will hopefully understand how privileged I feel to have been invited to attend this once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you NASA!
Right sleep time now (As if I can sleep after reading that)!!

Posted by Fidget 14:12 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged nasa launch grail tweetup Comments (0)

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