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Published: 2016-07-22 15:39:29
Updated: 2016-07-22 15:39:29
Posted July 22, 2016
By Tony Rice, NASA Solar System Ambassador
Do you participate in social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)? Have you ever wanted to see NASA up close and behind the scenes? A pair of opportunities are currently open that will give you the chance to see efforts underway get us to Mars and the return of launches from Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
NASA is inviting social media users to apply for credentials to see the progress being made on sending humans to Mars. Social media users will be gathering at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, and at the Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi on Aug. 17-18.
Participants will meet with NASA representatives for behind the scenes tours, see a structural model used for testing the new Orion spacecraft and to see the mighty RS-25 engine test firing and more.
A little closer to home, the application process is also open to experience the return to flight of Orbital ATK's Antares Rocket, currently targeted for 5:59 p.m. EDT, Aug. 22, from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at our Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
In addition to seeing the launch, participant will meet with NASA and Orbital ATK representatives, tour Wallops Flight Facility, and my favorite, meet with students who have payloads which will fly this mission.
The application process for the Michoud and Stennis events is open now through Thursday, July 28 at 5 p.m. EDT. Applications for the Antares Rocket launch are accepted through 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 31, 2016.
I’ve participated in several of these events over the years at NASA centers and other contractor facilities up and down the east coast. Each was a incredible experience. Though its hard to top sanding in the flame trench beneath a space shuttle or feet away from Mars bound spacecraft, the best part is talking with the engineers and scientists who have devoted their careers to exporting space.
Dont think that you must have several thousand Twitter followers to qualify. Space is for everyone and NASA’s social media team has built an incredibly successful program around that. Successful applications come from a variety of applicants.
Participants get access to facilities, engineers and scientists that lifelong NASA employees only dream of. If you are interested in all things space, dont pass up these opportunities. You’ll come home with a few more space nerd friends.