Endeavour #NASAtweetup day 2 – A scrub, a President, and some perspective

The STS-134 tweetup group. Photo Credit: (NASA/Paul E. Alers)

Shame on me…. I’ve been lax about writing this post about #NASAtweetup day 2. As many of you know by now, the launch was scrubbed but it certainly didn’t take the shine off of the #NASAtweetup experience. In the moments that happened on day 2 – from hearing of the scrub while watching the Astro Van do a u-turn, to waiting out by the road to see the Presidential motorcade, to wondering how long to stay in Florida – it only registered to my tired brain as a surreal passage of time. Day 1 was a complete whirlwind and it was only afterward that my mind could wrap around all the wonderful things I had seen and the people I had met.

 

Day 2 of the tweetup felt exactly like the second day of a trade show. I’m tired, dehydrated, and overwhelmed with information. To their credit, NASA kept the Day 2 agendareally light; with the actual launch as the highlight of the day. Without the launch, one would think that the trip feels incomplete. Yes and no. Of course it would’ve been a perfect day if the launch had gone off on time, but the #NASAtweetup program put together by Stephanie ShierholzJohn YembrickBeth Beck, and others behind the scenes is second to none. I come away from this tweetup a different person, one who is more interested in the space program than I ever thought possible.

 

My favorite experience of day 2 wasn’t on the agenda. I was out by the road, standing on the rope line with several dozen others and waiting for the Presidential motorcade to come by. At this point, the launch was already scrubbed and we were waiting for traffic to clear up outside of Kennedy Space Center so that we could leave. (How better to pass than time than to wait for the President, no?) I struck up a conversation with a guy who’s worked at KSC for a collective 22 years. He was laid off after the Challenger explosion, NASA helped him go back to school to finish his degree, and then he was rehired. He reminded me so much of the people in my own industry who talk about AV with enthusiasm, with a light in their eyes that can’t be faked. The only difference is that he was talking about space exploration. You see, we are all the same. When you find what you are meant to do with your life, you can’t help but speak about it with love and passion.

 

Godspeed, Endeavour. I’ll be back to watch you punch a hole in the sky.

 

(If you’d like to see my photos from the tweetup, please visit photos.frembes.com/NASA.)

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