Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#EndeavorLA Nasa Tweetup

I was lucky enough to attend the #EndeavorLA Launch event, thanks to NASA Tweetup
and @casciencecenter. If you haven't heard about the Tweetups, they are part of a social media program by NASA, where you can sign up and may be randomly chosen to attend an event. All they ask is that you tweet about it :) This was the first one I signed up for. This event was to "sign over the pink slip" of Space Shuttle Endeavour from NASA to the California Science Center. I'm not sure exactly when the shuttle will actually arrive, but I can't wait to go back and see it.

So come on with me for a virtual tour, and let's see what happened!

The California Science Center is very cool, with lots of hands-on exhibits.

Walking from the parking lot, we see The Big Lever, which enables you lift a 5000 pound truck with your bare hands.

Here's an A-12 Blackbird trainer. This was the precursor to the SR-71 Blackbird. To bad the ol' iPhone doesn't have a wide angle lens!

I think the A-12/SR-71 is one of the coolest looking planes of all time.

There was a big crowd there. For some reason, I like taking pictures of people taking pictures.

That group of people in the background is watching the "signing over of the Endeavour pink slip." It comes with a power-train warranty, right? (Okay, I stole that joke from one of the speakers.)

The crew of STS-134 (last Endeavor mission and last Space Shuttle mission ever) and the curator of the CA Science Center. He said they have a 250 year plan for the exhibit. It will also be displayed vertically, ready for launch :) The astronauts gave an awesome video presentation and answered questions. The tires in the foreground were actually used on the Space Shuttle Discovery. They weigh about 250 pounds.

Air Force T-38 trainer. My dad used to work on these - he also worked on the SR-71 but can't talk about it ;) Once, he let me fly a T-38 motion simulator. It was pretty amazing!

F-20 Tigershark. There were only three prototypes built before the program was cancelled, and this is the only one on display anywhere.

Apollo space capsule.

The most complicated door in the world. The latches around the edge are called "dogs," and to open it, you pull the lever by the window and it turns all the gears and gizmos to undog the hatch. Before this design, it was necessary to unlatch all the dogs separately, which was dangerous if you needed to leave in a hurry.

Cool texture on the side of the capsule.

Gemini capsule. It's even more cramped than the Apollo capsule.

Gemini heat shield.

I love space suits. This area was roped off, but I snuck in and took a quick pic. Don't tell...

The world's smallest and blurriest moon rock.

Baxter the Wonder Dog for the Cutest Dog In The World Contest. I don't know how that got in here!

Everybody has a red carpet background these days.

The goodie bag: Astronaut Ice Cream, Social Media badge, USB drive with info about the event, CA Science Center compass keychain, NASA pin and free IMAX ticket!
I had a fun time and it was nice to meet the other Tweetupperers. Thanks, NASATweetup and California Science Center!

For more info from the other Tweeple, check out #EndeavorLA on Twitter.


  1. Looks like it was a fun time, Jon!

    That shot of the capsule door is amazing, and the thought of having to undo all the dogs manually is just daunting. Very cool - and I think all steampunk writers should include a door like that at some point in their work. :)

  2. Great writeup. I wish I was as close as you guys got to sit (I was in the second to last row).

    I added a link to your blog post to the wiki page:

  3. Ha ha, Nicholas, I thought the same thing! I had originally written something about how that door looked Steampunkish before Blogger deleted half the post. Then I forgot about it in the rewrite.

    Thanks, James! Yep, the astronauts walked right by us as they were whisked away. I wish they could have stayed longer. They were fascinating to listen to :)

  4. Did Baxter get to go to the tweetup? Major cool. Me and my fellow observatory volunteers would love to see this. Maybe next year we can convince the UofO to take us. I tried for Kek, but they said no. We're trying for AZ, but that will probably be a no. Maybe CA will be OK. :D

  5. Hi M Pax! Ha, no unfortunately I didn't get to bring Baxter. I only had 1 ticket! He would have loved it, though :)

    Maybe the UofO (every time I see that, I think UFO) would take you to JPL too :)