Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Shuttle Story

Since being selected to attend the NASA Tweetup STS-135 for the final shuttle launch, people have been sharing their shuttle stories with me. I'm keeping this blog to share my shuttle story too.

As a storyteller, I enjoy when people share their stories with me. The shuttle stories I've been told so far are fascinating. I'm also amazed at how many people have connections to NASA or affiliated agencies. People have shared their shuttle stories with me about night launches and scrubbed launches. I've heard about astronauts and aerospace workers. There have also been poignant memories shared with me about the Challenger and Columbia tragedies.

All of these people sharing their shuttle stories with me gave me an idea. NASA's space shuttle program is ending after 30 years, but the memories and stories will remain as long as we keep sharing them. So why not give people a place to share their shuttle stories?

It is still a work in progress, but so far I've created a few easy ways for people to share their shuttle memories and stories.

When was your first/last time seeing a launch? Did you see a night launch? Miss seeing a launch because it got scrubbed? Work on the shuttle program? Just watched on TV? Whatever your experience, you can share your shuttle stories here:
So share your shuttle stories. And feel free to let me know what you think about this shuttle story sharing idea.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Media, Tuttle, and the Shuttle Adventure

Today was a good day. The local newspaper in Muncie, The Star Press, ran a nice article about my upcoming NASA Tweetup and shuttle adventure. Check out photos from the print edition below, and see the online version of the story here.

The Star Press - June 24, 2011
Front Page (That's me in the top left corner!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NASA Tweetup Preparations

So much has been going on. I've been very busy trying to prepare for the NASA Tweetup. And there is still so much I need to do. It seems I don't go to bed before midnight anymore because I've got so much going on. I've been running on adrenaline since the announcement that I was selected, and I'm sure that will continue through the event in July.

I've never really been one to self-promote myself, but now I find myself telling people to follow me on Twitter (I'm @julieanntuttle) so they can be a part of this amazing experience too, albeit vicariously. I have a meeting on Wednesday (gosh, it's past midnight again, so later today) with a local reporter who wants to do two stories on my adventure, one before and one after the event. I'll make sure to provide a link to those stories once they are available.

I'm so excited to share this experience with people who will not be there with me which is one of the reasons I am keeping this blog. Additionally, there are so many amazing tweeps that have also been selected to attend this event, and I am eager to meet them all in person. One person is putting together a documentary (, and I still have an "assignment" to make a video introduction that I hope to do today sometime. This is becoming like a second job : -)

All us NASA Tweetup peeps have already been talking through Twitter and a Facebook group so it may be surreal when we all finally meet in person. All 150 participants selected for the STS-135 NASA Tweetup  have very interesting backgrounds and a wide range of experiences. Getting to share this awesome event with such an amazing group of people adds a whole other layer to the experience.

On Friday, I'd done a shout out on Twitter to all of the STS-135 astronauts you can follow on Twitter. I mentioned I'd be there to see the launch in July. One of the Atlantis astronauts, Rex Walheim, (find him on Twitter @Astro_Rex) sent me a tweet back that said, "Enjoy the launch. We'll try our best to go on time!" Of course, now I have to tell people that astronaut Rex tweeted to me. If you're a space tweep, you'll understand my nerdy excitement about such a cool moment. And if you're not I hope you'll follow me on my adventure, and you'll get you excited about space too!

NASA Astronaut Mark Kelly Announces Retirement

Captain Mark Kelly an astronaut with NASA since 1996 announced his retirement today from the U.S. Navy and NASA effective October 1. He has served his country with honor.

Kelly understandably wants to spend more time with his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, as she continues her recovery following the Tucson tragedy. Even though many, including myself, knew little about them before that terrible day, people across the nation and the world now hold a special place in their hearts for the couple. I wish them all the best and look forward to reading the book they plan to work on together.

Included in his announcement was a wonderful sentiment that sums up the importance of continued space exploration and the crucial part NASA plays in leading us into the future.

"I know that as our space program evolves, there are those who will question NASA's future. I am not among them. There isn't a group more dedicated to its mission or more capable than the outstanding men and women of NASA. Exploration is a critical component of what makes our country great. We will continue to explore and NASA will continue to lead that effort."  - Captain Mark Kelly on June 21, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

NASA Tweetup and Last Shuttle Launch Guide

I’ll be using this blog to chronicle my experiences with NASA Tweetup. On this blog you can keep track of what I will being doing in the weeks leading up to the NASA Tweetup as well as when I am at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 7-8, 2011. I'm sure I'll have lots of amazing photos and videos to share here. Make sure to follow me on Twitter at @julieanntuttle for updates too.

Since getting the amazing news from NASA exactly a week ago that I would be seeing the last launch of the space shuttle Atlantis, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from friends, family, and co-workers about this tweetup event and the shuttle launch. To answer some of those questions, I’ve put together a list of resources you can use to keep up with the last shuttle launch and the NASA Tweetup event.

What is a NASA Tweetup?
A Tweetup is an informal meeting of people who use the social messaging medium Twitter. NASA Tweetups provide @NASA followers with the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at NASA facilities and events and speak with scientists, engineers, astronauts and managers. NASA Tweetups range from two hours to two days in length and include a "meet and greet" session to allow participants to mingle with fellow Tweeps and the people behind NASA's Twitter feeds. Registration for NASA Tweetups will be announced on Twitter @NASA and @NASATweetup. (Taken from NASA website.)

What is STS-135? Each NASA launch and mission has a designation. Atlantis is on mission STS-135 to the International Space Station.

NASA Tweetup STS-135 (aka Atlantis Shuttle Launch Tweetup) -  information about the STS-135 NASA Tweetup registration and event.

Google Map of STS-135 – show locations of Tweetup activities at KSC. Also contains locations of the 150 national and international attendees.

NASA Tweeps Selected to Attend STS-135 Tweetup - attendees of the #NASATweetup at Atlantis' launch, targeted for July 8, 2011. (Look for me @julieanntuttle)

NASA Tweetup Wiki – excellent one stop resource of general information and links to attendee lists, images, blog posts, projects, etc.

Resources to Find Out More about NASA’s Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Official NASA STS-135 Mission Information – Contains astronaut crew profiles along with mission overview.

NASA on Social Network Sites - Lists websites and social media where you can connect and collaborate with NASA.

STS135 References Wiki – Links to lots of resources and information.

CBS News Space: STS-135 Flight Data - Contains extensive list of launch windows, detailed technical specs, and a countdown clock.

Launch Photography – You’ll of course find lots of great pictures here. If you plan on seeing the launch in person, there is also a very helpful page about the best places to view a launch.

Google Map of Best Places to View the Launch – Over a million people are expected to view this historic last launch. If you are planning to go, you better have a plan.

Space Shuttle Atlantis – On this NASA webpage you’ll find lots of information about the Atlantis shuttle.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Making Difficult Things Look Easy

I’ve always been impressed with NASA, but my admiration has mostly been about all the stuff that goes along with space exploration. And there is no shortage of impressive stuff that comes into my mind when I think about NASA. When someone says NASA, the obvious associations are astronauts, astronomy, ships, suits, stars, planets, probes, rovers, rockets, moon rocks, exploration, experiments, and on and on.

Since I am a marketing and communications professional, I really appreciate what it takes to make things happen like this NASA Tweetup. NASA is doing great things with social media, event planning, media relations, and their websites (they recently won at the Webby awards.) So along with all of the wonderful space stuff they do, I am now adding social media pioneers, PR professionals, and Web wizards to the list of things I admire about NASA.

The other night I was listening to an excellent interview with NASA’s spokesperson and social media manager Stephanie Schierholz about their PR and social media strategy and tactics. The interview runs about 60 minutes, but it is a very interesting peek into how NASA manages over 200 social media accounts, astronauts tweeting and checking in on foursquare from space, and the management of their very popular Twitter @NASATweetup events. Check it out here:

Today I listened to an interview with STS-135 pilot Doug Hurley ( discussing the upcoming Atlantis launch. He mentioned something that I deeply admire and understand when he said that launching people into space isn’t easy. Launching people into space is a difficult business, but they just make it look easy.

Making difficult things look easy. This is what professionals do. This is what separates the super successful from the rest. Making difficult things look easy isn’t easy. It is the result of a lot of planning, training, and countless hours of unseen hard work. And it often can go under or unappreciated because it looks easy.

I mentioned Web wizards above because I sometimes joke at work about my magic wand. During my many, many years of working on websites and having quite a few of them recognized for national awards and recognitions, I’ve realized that most people still do not understand or appreciate the amount of work it takes to create high quality websites. I don’t use a magic wand. But making difficult things look easy can make it look like magic to others.

The people that work at NASA are making difficult things look easy everyday. I’m glad I’ll get the chance to tell some of them in person very soon that I admire and appreciate all the hard work they do to make it all seem like magic. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I was having a typical workday on Friday, June 10 filled with assorted tasks and meetings until something not typical happened to me. I got an unexpected email that soon had me literally (and yes, I know what literally means and I do mean literally) jumping around my office with excitement. It is not everyday that you get an email from NASA especially one that starts with "Congratulations, you have been selected to attend the NASA Tweetup on July 7-8 for space shuttle Atlantis. The event will provide you the opportunity to speak with shuttle technicians, engineers, astronauts, and managers, and to experience the launch of space shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station."

I'm one of only 150 tweeps that love NASA and use Twitter (see that have been selected for an amazing experience meeting NASA professionals, exploring the Kennedy Space Center, and then witnessing history with the very last space shuttle launch ever.

My mind is still racing with everything that this wonderful opportunity means both personally and professionally. Besides seeing a shuttle launch for the first (and last) time in my life, I am already feeling this experience is going to mean so much more than I can even imagine right now.