NASA Opens Space Shuttle Launch to Twitter Fans
Space shuttle Atlantis atop the crawler-transporter makes its way up the steep incline to Launch Pad 39A on Oct. 14, 2009 for a planned Nov. 12 launch.
Credit: NASA/KSC

Here's something to tweet about: NASA has invited some Twitter followers to view the November launch of space shuttle Atlantis in person during a NASA "tweetup."

The tweetup, or meeting of twitterers, will be open to the first 100 people who sign up on a NASA Web site to attend the planned Nov. 12 liftoff of Atlantis from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

"This will be NASA's fifth tweetup for our Twitter community," said Michael Cabbage, director of the News Services division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. "Each event has provided our followers with inside access to NASA personnel, including astronauts. The goal of this particular tweetup is to share the excitement of a shuttle launch with a new audience."

NASA has embraced the microblogging service, and a growing cadre of astronauts is now keeping in touch with the public through Twitter. Two spaceflyers currently onboard the International Space Station - NASA astronauts Jeff Williams ("Astro_Jeff") and Nicole Stott ("Astro_Nicole") - post updates to the site.

Atlantis was rolled out to Launch Pad 39A today in preparation for next month's launch, even though NASA is still unsure of exactly when the spacecraft will fly due to scheduling constraints. Despite the uncertainty, the agency is forging ahead with plans for the tweetup, scheduled to run on Nov. 11 and 12.

During the event NASA Twitter followers will take a tour of Kennedy Space Center, view the space shuttle launch and speak with shuttle technicians, engineers, astronauts and managers. There will also be a meet-and-greet session where participants can mingle with fellow "tweeps" and the staff behind the tweets on @NASA.

Registration for the event opens at 12:00 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) on Friday, Oct. 16 at http://www.nasa.gov/tweetup. The first 100 people to sign up will be given tickets, and an additional 50 people will be put on a wait-list.

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