It felt a bit like I had wandered into an exclusive Silicon Valley pool party.
There were palm trees, deck chairs, even a heated pool that was steaming in the morning chill. Bobak Ferdowsi (a.k.a. the “NASA Mohawk guy”) of Mars Curiosity fame was milling around. Camilla, the ever-adventurous SDO-obsessed rubber chicken, was posing for photos in one corner. So was Piers Sellers, former astronaut. And, strangely, there was a woman wearing a clown nose perched on a fence looking off into the distance at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Everybody was glued to their devices.
Welcome to the Landsat-8 launch-viewing party, NASA Social Style.
There was some competition for the best spots along the fence. I ended up near the pool next to Camilla keeper’s and Esten Hurtle, a software developer who works for Twitter. When we were chatting, he mentioned he had been on the road from San Francisco to Lompoc for two days—on a Vespa. I found that intriguing. Before I knew it, I was doing a full Q & A.
How did you end find out about this?
Actually John Yembrick (NASA HQ social media guru) came to Twitter and let us know a NASA Social was happening at the Landsat launch. I thought it sounded awesome, and I registered as fast as I possibly could. I was lucky enough to be one of 80 people who got a spot.
How has the social been? What have you been doing?
I went to Vandenberg Air Force Base yesterday. We had an amazing tour. We had a televised Q & A in the morning with many of the people who literally worked on the mission for years to make this happen. It was incredible.
After that we went on a tour around the base. There was a heritage museum where they showed us all sorts of old launch equipment. There was stuff from Titan II, lots of old switches and dials. They even had a cold war missile on display. It was the forerunner to today’s Delta rockets, which are used for space launches. They had it open, and they were showing us the different stages.
Then we went to the launch pad and met up with Charlie Bolden there because, well, you know, that’s just what you do when you’re at a NASA launch.