NASA plans Tweetup for next shuttle launch

NASA is throwing a Tweetup for its next shuttle launch.

The U.S. space agency announced this week that some of its @NASA Twitter followers will be invited to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida next month to view the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis in person. NASA will host 100 Twitterers for two days of tours and the opportunity to meet NASA technicians, engineers and astronauts and, of course, get front-row seats for the Nov. 12 launch.

Registration for the Tweetup opens at noon ET on Friday, Oct. 16 on the NASA Web site. The first 100 people to register will be invited, and another 50 will be added to a wait list, according to NASA.

The agency noted that participants will need to pay for their own travel, lodging and food. Non-U.S. citizens can register to attend but will need to receive clearance to enter the space center.

A Tweetup - taking the online and making it in-person -- is a gathering of people who use Twitter and have common interests.

Atlantis was moved to its launch pad just today. The shuttle will be headed up to the International Space Station, where the crew is scheduled to make three spacewalks and deliver two gyroscopes and other equipment.

NASA is no stranger to the microblogging site Twitter.

This past May, astronaut Mike Massimino, a Twitter newbie at the time, became the first person to tweet from space . Massimino was part of the seven-member crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis when it went aloft on an 11-day mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble telescope , which is orbiting about 350 miles above Earth.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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