Press Release

NASA Invites 150 Lucky Twitter Followers To Launch Of Jupiter-Bound Spacecraft

By SpaceRef Editor
August 2, 2011
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NASA Invites 150 Lucky Twitter Followers To Launch Of Jupiter-Bound Spacecraft

WASHINGTON — NASA has invited 150 followers of the agency’s Twitter account to a two-day launch Tweetup Aug. 4-5. The event is expected to culminate in the lift off of the Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The launch window opens at 11:34 a.m. EDT on Friday, Aug. 5. The spacecraft is expected to arrive at Jupiter in 2016 to investigate the gas giant’s interior, atmosphere and aurora. Juno’s color camera will provide close-up images of Jupiter, including the first detailed glimpse of the planet’s poles.

Attendees represent 28 states, the District of Columbia and five other countries: Canada, Finland, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. NASA randomly selected the participants from more than 1,200 online applicants.

Tweetup participants are coming from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. They will share their Tweetup experiences with their followers through the social networking site Twitter.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4, NASA will broadcast a portion of the Tweetup when participants get to talk with Waleed Abdalati, chief scientist at NASA Headquarters; Jim Adams, deputy director, Planetary Science, NASA Headquarters; Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator; Steve Levin, Juno project scientist; Juno Science Team members Toby Owen, Fran Bagenal, and Dave Stevenson; Steve Matousek, Juno proposal manager; Jan Chodas, Juno project manager; and Chris Brosious, chief systems engineer for Juno at Lockheed Martin. To watch the broadcast, visit:

Participants also will tour NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral, including a close-up visit to the launch pad.

Reporters credentialed to cover the launch also may cover the NASA Tweetup at Kennedy’s press site. Reporters interested in interviewing Tweetup attendees in advance should contact Stephanie Schierholz at 202-358-1100 or

This is the first time NASA has invited Twitter followers to experience the launch of a planetary spacecraft. Previously, NASA invited groups to attend five space shuttle launches: Atlantis’ STS-129, STS-132 and STS-135 missions, Discovery’s STS-133 mission, and Endeavour’s STS-134 mission.

To follow the Tweetup participants on Twitter as they experience the prelaunch events and Juno’s liftoff, follow the #NASATweetup hashtag and the list of attendees at:

You can follow the Juno mission on Twitter at:

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the mission. For more information about Juno, visit:

To connect with NASA on Twitter and other social networking sites, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.