STS-129 Shuttle Launch, Social Media Style

Update: STS-129 successfully launched at 11:28 PST / 17:28 UTC today, and I am happy to post the following HD video from NASA TV:

Am I reading my tweets correctly? Did a group of people just cheer when they announced that the Space Shuttle hatch to the crew compartment passed the leak check? And look how many people are following the current fuel cell issue, with interest piqued...

Houston, we've finally got a Shuttle launch, social media style.

The launch of STS-129 is scheduled to happen in about 1.5 hours (11:28AM PST/ 19:28PM UTC), but the excitement is happening now via webcast at and at a #NASATweetup happening at Cape Canaveral. has put together an amazing webcast team, hosted by Miles O'Brien, David Waters, and Astronaut Leroy Chiao (one of the first astronauts to join Twitter!). The webcast is filled with interviews and fascinating facts about the Space Shuttle, the mission, and the crewmembers.

The webcast is paired with a NASA Tweetup event taking place at the Cape for the launch.

With the interest and buzz that this event has generated so far, I think we can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this may emerge as a new standard for launch coverage in the future. If you're not following along, join the excitement by following the #nasatweetup hashtag on Twitter, or tune into for live coverage. SpaceVidCast is also providing live HD coverage of the launch on Ustream.

Here are just a few quotes that I've picked up off Twitter in the last 30 min, via the #NASAtweetup hashtag:

"Edwin Hubble was an all-star basketball player? the things u find out when following the #nasatweetup !" @teobesta

"Look at these nuts? They split in half to release the Shuttle during launch."@JSWadley

"Flown/damaged shuttle tile. Silica blocks with thirty-thousandths of one inch ceramic/glass coating #nasatweetup" @adamcanfly

"Learned that @NASA kills a pig before the launch to keep the vultures busy." @JoeButch

"Just had a second interview and might have a...third? I'm just this guy, you know?" @Fyrehyde

"The Tempur-Pedic technology was originally created to support the astronauts' necks while launching." @MelissaCarter

"Wow, I didn't know about [Amelia Earhart's] scarf. How cool is that?" (note: Amelia Earhart's favorite scarf is flying on STS-129)

Exciting stuff, seeing hundreds of people engaged and learning about spaceflight in real time. Godspeed to Atlantis and her crew!

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