NASA astronaut says he will Twitter from space

Atlantis shuttle specialist says NASA is working out plan to let him post Tweets from orbit

A NASA astronaut Thursday said he'll be Twittering from the space shuttle Atlantis next month as it travels to and from its mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

Mission specialist Mike Massimino, who has been using Twitter for a little more than two weeks as he trained for the mission, said during a press conference Thursday that he will Twitter from orbit when it won't interfere with the busy schedule of the seven astronauts onboard the Atlantis. Joking that he won't be bringing his Blackberry into space, Massimino said he wasn't yet sure how the team would work out the technical issues.

"We're going to be really busy so I'm not sure how much we'll do this from orbit," he said. "I'll try to do it when I have free time in between missions. I can't make any promises but I'm going to try."

Massimino has been posting regular Tweets about the training process, along with updates about doctor's visits, press interviews and backyard barbecues. He told Computerworld last week that NASA's public relations team first suggested Twittering about his training since he'd never even tried it before. Now with 50 Tweets under his belt, he already has more than 113,000 followers.

"The whole Twitter experience has been great fun," he said today. "As astronauts, we look for ways to share the experience of what we do. The opportunity to use Twitter has been great because, by definition, it has to be short messages ... and I can fit it in."

Massimino, who will be one of the astronauts assigned to working the space shuttle's robotic arm to grab onto and manipulate the Hubble telescope, said in a previous interview that NASA has not limited what he can Twitter about.

What the astronaut hasn't Twittered about yet is whether or not NASA is going to move the mission's launch date up a day. Various news outlets have been reporting that NASA is considering moving the launch date from May 12 to May 11, which would give the space agency three possible launch dates, according to a CNN report.

The space shuttle Atlantis crew had been scheduled to service the Hubble telescope last fall, but the mission was postponed because of a failed computer onboard the orbiter. NASA engineers were forced to remotely switch the spacecraft over to an onboard backup system, working from a room in the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., while the telescope hurtled along its orbit around Earth at 17,500 mph.

In the upcoming mission, astronauts will bring up new instrumentation, new batteries and a new camera that is designed to give the orbiter the ability to see 10 times farther and faster, according to Massimino, whose Twitter username is "Astro_Mike."

Hubble's capabilities will be expanded and its lifetime extended through at least 2014 due to the service mission, NASA said.

This will be Massimino's second trip into space. In 2002, he flew on the STS-109 mission, which also traveled to the Hubble Space Telescope. He made two spacewalks during that mission.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags twitterNASAspace

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?