That’s me, just more than 22 years ago, strapped in to the Commander’s seat in the shuttle simulator at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. The joy on my face reflects about a fraction of the happiness I felt as we proceeded through our mission, using phrases like “Copy that” and “Roger roll.” It was thrilling and inspiring, as exploration and science should be.
I once thought I’d become an astronaut, but my path took me in a different direction. I’ve never lost my passion for space, though, and I’ve never let go of my dream to see a space shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Center. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking you along for the ride as I cover the launch and mission of STS-130 of the shuttle Endeavour. It’s the first launch in the last year of the shuttle program, which is scheduled to be retired this fall. At a time when NASA’s future is uncertain, it’s important to not lose focus of the missions still ahead and the thousands of people who work tirelessly to make them run smoothly. I think it’s actually an exciting time for space travel as we start to think of new ways to make things work. I imagine some of the folks reading this right now will be a part of the space exploration revolution over the next decade.
STS-130 Mission Specialist during an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuit fit check in the Space Station Airlock Test Article (SSATA) in the Crew Systems Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Also pictured is STS-130 mission commander, George Zamka. Photo courtesy of NASA.
I’ll be sharing interviews with the astronauts, details about the mission’s timeline and objectives, reports from the scheduled NASA Tweetup from Mission Control during the mission, interviews with some of the brilliant young folks who help make the space program a success, and a fully geektastic perspective of a space geek achieving her dream. You can follow me here on MAKE as well as on Twitter, where I’ll be tweeting constant updates from my various trips to Houston, Florida, and back to Houston.
For some of my favorite resources and other folks you should follow if you’re a space geek at heart or just need to awaken that space geek that (I believe) resides in all of us, see more after the jump. Here are a few of my favorite online resources for space news and communication. I’ll be sharing more throughout my coverage and will compile a complete listing at the end of mission. Enjoy!
People to follow on Twitter:
Miles O’Brien and This Week in Space – @milesobrien and @thisweekinspace – Former CNN science, aerospace, technology and environment correspondent and founder of SpaceFlightNow.com, an all-inclusive space news web site and This Week in Space, a weekly video pod cast focusing on the top current stories in space exploration.
Astronaut TJ Creamer – @Astro_TJ – current crew member of the International Space Station, and the first astronaut to live tweet from space. TJ has been an avid tweeter since he was in training in Star City in Russia and is very enthusastic and friendly. He often responds to questions posted to him, so there’s a good chance you could get a reply tweet from space! (he just replied to me this week!)
Rachel Hobson – @avgjanecrafter Hey, that’s me! I’ll be tweeting constantly through the next two weeks with updates on the mission and my adventures. Follow along!
Web sites to explore:
SpaceFlightNow.com – up-to-the-minute news on current missions as well as live video coverage of launches, landings and other important mission events.
SpaceVidCast.com – High definition live coverage of launch and landings with an active accompanying chat room. They also do weekly shows on Thursday evenings as well as almost daily space new video briefs.
NasaSpaceFlight.com – a breaking news web covering space flight-related news.
Space Tweep Society – Started by Jen Scheer, a shuttle tecnician at Kennedy Space Center, this group of space enthusiasts, astronomers, nasa employes and more has exploded in number and participation. It’s a great place to jump into conversation with other space geeks on Twitter.