The email includes guidelines for behavior - don't expect to see the Tweeps posing by the countdown clock - that shot is for the media. Regardless, the view for us will be the same. A mere three miles from the shuttle launch pad. Swoon.
Initially reading the schedule, I am glad to count myself among the early risers. Following down the list, I am concerned that I have never counted myself as capable of pulling an all-nighter.
6:30 am - registration begins
9:00 am - welcome by NASA's John Yembrick
10:30 am - Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for Space Operations
Broadcasting on NASA TV begins
10:50 am - Elmo (as in red, fuzzy & cute) will meet with Mike Massimino
11:30 am We meet with Tracy Thumm and Justin Kugler both of whom work with the ISS
11:50 am We meet with Angela J. Brewer, Flow Director for Atlantis. Among other honors, she is the recipient of the Silver Snoopy award! This is given by astronauts to fellow NASA employees in appreciation "For professionalism, dedication and outstanding support that greatly enhanced space flight safety and mission success".
If you have ever seen my desk, you know I love my Snoopy!
After lunch, we will be driven out to Launch Pad 39A to watch the retraction of the Rotating Service Structure that surrounds the shuttle. I don't know exactly how close we will be...but I can tell you it is CLOSE!
3:15 pm we will tour Kennedy Space Center and the Apollo Saturn V Center. These are open to the public and you may have seen my photos from the trip we took to the scheduled launch of STS-133 in the fall. As Tweetup attendees, we will be given a rare behind the scenes tour that will include the Vehicle Assembly Building! This is the enormous structure in which they mount the shuttle to her external fuel tanks.
Our schedule concludes at 6 pm but will begin again at 5 am Friday. Did I mention that we have quite a commute on our hands and that they have said there will be one MILLION people there? Talk about rush hour!
6:30 am we will watch the Robotic Refueling Mission demonstration
7:00 am Group Photo at the countdown clock! We have been warned to stay out of the news camera shots later in the day!
7:05 am we meet with Tony Antonelli, a veteran of STS-119 and STS-132
7:40 am (est.) we will line the road to wave as the astronauts drive by in the 'astrovan'. It is here that all in attendance will pray that the van continues to the launch pad rather than U-turn as it did before, indicating a scrubbed launch.
8:00 am (if we can take any more excitement) we will meet with Bob Crippen, pilot of the very first shuttle launch, STS-1! His bio states that he has logged over 565 hours in space and travelled over 9.4 million miles!
8:30 am we meet with Lt. Col. Patrick Barrett from the 45th Weather Squadron of the United States Air Force. We hope that the team has great weather news for us on Friday!
9:21 am (est.) They close the hatch on Atlantis
11:26 am LAUNCH!!
12:30 pm - for those watching at home, this is the estimated time of the post-launch news conference.
I hope that you will follow along with me and that my words and images can somehow bring justice to the incredible opportunity NASA has provided. If you or your students have any questions that they would like me to ask any of our NASA dignitaries, please post them.