Thursday, November 1, 2012

Atlantis! Celebrate the Journey


All right, Armchair Astronauts, who is watching the Atlantis retirement event today and tomorrow?

This is it. Once this is completed, no Shuttle will ever move again, through the air or along the ground.

When Atlantis is in place, the retirement shuffle is complete. Discovery resides in the Smithsonian, Endeavour just had her opening ceremony in the California Science Center, and Atlantis will be the third and final orbiter to roll to her newly constructed display case.

The announcement for the NASA Social beginning today had thousands of applications, as usual, and a lucky 40 or so social media enthusiasts will be trekking around KSC today, getting the retirement event preview.

Follow the #NASASocial hashtag, or peruse their attendee list for folks who can keep us updated!  Parts of the NASA Social agenda will be live on NASA Television.

STS-135 Launch
I still cannot believe I took this photograph.

Having seen Space Shuttle Atlantis launch twice, I'm a bit more emotional about this orbiter than the others, so I'm sure I'll be glued to the NASA TV feed!

Tomorrow, November 2nd, Atlantis will make a 10-mile journey on the 76-wheel flatbed vehicle called the Orbiter Transportation System, beginning at Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), and ending at the new $100-milion permanent home under construction at the KSC Visitor Complex. The official Atlantis exhibit is set to open summer 2013.

If you're already in line to attend, expect big crowds! The "Atlantis - Celebrate the Journey" Ticket Packages included basic $50 admissions, $75 Launch Pad tours, $90 Explorer Park entries, and the whopper: $115 for the Atlantis Adventure Package (Tour+Park together). Tickets sold out within mere days of going on sale. More were added, and those sold out too!

Following the move, 50 astronauts will be autographing memorabilia at the Kurt H. Debus Conference Facility, adjacent to Rocket Garden. Not too shabby for a final Shuttle blowout! If you're there, be sure to share plenty of tweets and pictures!