Thursday, May 3, 2012

NASA Tweetup #5


New Tweetup on Friday, May 4! Now called the NASA Social! Back in MY DAY they were called Tweetups, anyway. Just kidding, don't want to sound like a geezer 50 years before I should.

Anyway, it's ROAD TRIP time again, and this time I'll be headed to Monterey, where I'm excited to show Camilla the Apollo Moon Tree in Friendly Plaza, and then on to the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) on Edwards Air Force Base in California.

NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
Seems pretty big on the ground, but if you check out all of Edwards AFB on Google Maps, you'll see it's only a very tiny portion of the base! And pretty far inside the boundaries, so you'll never trip over it.

Sadly, Dryden is one of the very view NASA sites that is not open to the public, partly due to the classified nature of some aeronautical research, and partly due to budget concerns on the base. One used to be able to reserve pre-arranged tours at Dryden with specific dates, but those small allowances were also cancelled as of December 2011.

NASA Dryden logo
So, if you are interested in the first "A" of the NASA acronym, follow me Friday on Blogspot, Twitter, Facebook and Picasa this week for all things Dryden! Most of the Tweetups I've been to thus far have been about Space, but the agency's Aeronautics research and manufacturing branches are also crucial to the whole!

I'm already on the road, now -- and eagerly anticipating Star Wars Day (anyone think that was a coincidence?) at Dryden, perhaps seeing experimental aircraft, perhaps getting to meet real live test pilots, and... would an Autonomous Airborne Refueling Demonstration be too much to ask?

A girl can dream.

Dryden Fleet
Last summer, it was my honor and pleasure to visit the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility to see SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. That was rather a short and sweet affair off the base. This time, however, the crowd of 75 social media (mongers? maulers?) ... okay, let's call us "enthusiasts", will be able to spend the entire day seeing the aircraft fleet!

All participants have been told we can photograph static aircraft, though no word yet on what we will see or be able to record in flight. Stay tuned for more updates! On twitter, you can also follow hashtags #DrydenSocial and #NASASocial, or follow the @NASADryden feed.

For my and Team Camilla's updates, you can follow @Pillownaut, @Camilla_SDO and @jotolluch!