Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Tweetup at the VAB and SLF? Yes, please!

As I read the tweets of excitement from the new round of NASA Tweetup attendees, I keep thinking "I wish I was going" to the STS-134 NASA Launch Tweetup. And the reason might surprise you! It's not for the launch...really, I know this sounds crazy...and it is a little! But it's true. Don't get me wrong, no no no, I would LOVE to see another launch from the Press site, but it's the VAB tour that I want to see now. I was very humbled, privileged, and thankful for my STS-132 NASA Tweetup experience. But when I saw the VAB through Joel Glickman's HATCAM, I was a little jealous. We were unable to do a VAB tour for my tweetup.

I would give up the chance to see a Press Site launch for a chance to see the VAB....from the inside!  Why would I do that you ask?  Well, I had my chance. I think others need the opportunity to have this awe-inspiring, very emotional, and potentially life changing experience too!

And its not just the VAB I want to stand in,  it's the SLF I want to visit as well. We did a drive-by on the STS-132 launch tweetup, but I would love the chance to stand on the actual runway.  To be in the presence of rubber from the tires of a Space Shuttle...to see the marker where Discovery's nose wheel stopped for the final time, that would be an experience of a lifetime.

I would even be as bold to say...if there is no Shuttle on PAD 39, we should get a group photo inside the fence at the base of the pad. Or we could stand in the flame trench looking up waving for unique group picture.  But I don't want to push my luck here, I have't even formally asked for the tweetup yet.

So here is my idea for a VAB/SLF NASA Tweetup.  And I think if we ask nicely and promise not to touch anything, we may be able to get NASA to host the event.

VAB/SLF NASA Tweetup Timeline:

  • 7:00AM - meet that badging station to get credentials
  • 8:00AM - assemble at the Press site tent for opening talk
  • 9:00AM - presentation on the history of KSC, VAB, and SLF
  • 11:00AM - "TWEET Break" - see below for the reason & definition
  • 12:00PM - lunch by the countdown clock
  • 1:00PM - VAB/SLF tours
  • 3:00PM - tour of the Apollo 1 Pad with the entire group
  • 4:00PM - back to the Tweetup tent for round table discussions
  • 5:00PM - buses to KSC VC for Hubble IMAX 3D
  • 7:00PM - back to the press site for closing
Hopefully the presentation portions could be broadcast live by NASA TV, hosted by the NASA Edge guys

*** A "Tweet Break" is time built in for those trying to tweet, post (to YouTube, blogs, and Flickr), take pictures, shot video, listen, learn, and ask questions all at the same time.  A break built in to have some time to catch up is critical.  It was more critical for tweetups like Sun Earth Day 2011 ( SED2011 Facebook Page ) when we were on the move a lot.

Now the timeline would change if there was a photo opportunity inside the pad fence or, if a shuttle is on the pad, a photo op at the end of the day with the tweetup group and a Xenon lit Space Shuttle in the background. Just sayin'....


I know there are MAJOR logistics, time, and money spent on hosting a tweetup. But these outreach events are truly "reaching out" to the public, students, and the next generation of NASA scientists, engineers, and leaders.  Communities are developing (both online and in real life), conversations are happening, healthy debates are occurring, and people are being inspired.  OH...and don't forget, the employees of NASA and its contractors, who are getting an opportunity to see how many supporters, fans, and enthusiasts are out there. All of whom appreciate all of their hard work and dedication!

So, here goes....

Dear NASA,

I am respectfully requesting the above NASA Tweetup. I think the opportunity for attendees and NASA to have another highly successful outreach project (which all the NASA Tweetups have been) would be fantastic. 150 people tweeting, posting, and streaming live reaches hundreds of thousands maybe even millions of people. I know the effort to execute this type of event is no small task, but the benefits of reaching out to so many is immeasurable. Thank you for considering the idea. I look forward to hearing from you.




  1. Thumbs up from me! That would be amazing. Since they're retiring the shuttles, how about add one of the SPF's (shuttle processing facilities) as well! That'w where the magic of mission preps begins and the mission ends for each shuttle flight.

  2. I'm all for it! Glad to have been a partial inspiration for this. Indeed, the VAB and SLF are hallowed grounds and you can truly sense this.