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STS-132 NASA Tweetup or "I've Won A Golden Ticket!"

Note: This is a very non-SQL Server related post. If you don't want to read something personal about me feel free to move along now. I won't be offended, I promise. :-)

STS-127 - July 15, 2009 If you follow me on Twitter you've probably noticed an occasional tweet about touring Kennedy Space Center, watching a shuttle launch, or spotting the ISS fly overhead. You see, I'm a bit of a space nut; I can't help it - it runs in my family. My dad worked for NASA in the Apollo days; my sister is a rocket scientist at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL; one of my brothers works (at least for the time being) on the Orion capsule for the cancelled\maybe not cancelled Constellation program; and anther brother works for Pratt & Whitney developing the next generation scramjet engine. Somehow I ended up in computer science, but nevertheless I've always had a strong interest in the space program.

About a month ago NASA held open signups for a tweetup they were holding for the launch of STS-132, the last flight of Atlantis. Having lived in Florida my entire life I've seen many launches before (that's me in the picture watching STS-127 from the Turn Basin viewing site next to the VAB, 2.5 miles from the pad) but on a whim I applied. After all, who wouldn't want the chance to watch a launch up close and personal from the press site? I was completely surprised to find the acceptance email in my inbox a few days later. Over 1,000 people applied and I was one of the lucky 150 who were chosen! Now I know what Charlie Bucket felt like when he opened a Wonka Bar and found the golden ticket.

Here's what NASA has planned for us:

Atlantis on Pad 39-B, March 18, 2009 Thursday, May 13:

  • Meet guest speakers, including:
  • Tour of Kennedy Space Center, including a stop at Pad 39A where we'll get to watch the rotating service structure be retracted for launch the following day.

 It'll be kind of like this, only way cooler!Friday, May 14:

  • More guest speakers, including:
    • Astronaut Dave Wolf
    • Lt. Col. Patrick Barrett, weather officer with the Air Force's 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron
    • Chris Meinert, STS-132 Closeout Crew member
    • Madi Sengupta (@msengupta), Space Station Robotics instructor at NASA's Johnson Space Center
  • And of course, the launch itself at 2:20 PM. Have you ever watched a launch on TV and seen the famous countdown clock with the American Flag next to it (that's me standing next to it on the right, in case you haven't)? That's where I'll be. "Awesome" is an understatement.

NASA has set up an official Twitter List if you want to follow along with the events. It turns out there are some well known people in the tech industry who were also selected (I'll let you look at the list for yourself) and even a few of us in the SQL community. So not only do I get to watch the shuttle launch up close but I get the chance to connect with more SQL folks. I'm stoked!


Posted by Anonymous on 12 May 2010

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