Twitter has become all the rage here on earth but history was made this week when astronaut Mike Massimino sent the first tweet from space. His message? "From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!" Of course, Massimino does not have internet access in space, but he is able to send his messages to the Johnson Space Center which posts them to Twitter.
Under the user name "Astro_Mike," Massimino began "tweeting" in early April when he started training for his current mission. He now has over 305,000 followers. Massimino, a mission specialist , is one of seven members of the Atlantis crew currently on an eleven day high-risk mission to service the Hubble space telescope. This is his second trip into space.
Astronaut Mark Polansky, who will command the next shuttle flight, set to take place in June, has begun using Twitter, himself. Polansky, like Massimino, has been giving a behind the scenes look at his training and preparation. He is also urging other Twitter users to send 30 second video questions to him via YouTube, some of which he will answer while in orbit during a live event broadcast on NASA Television. Polansky's Twitter user name is "Astro_127."
NASA's Public Affairs Office came up with the idea of using Twitter to help create publicity and connect with the public. NASA has been using multiple Twitter accounts for months including accounts set up for the Astrobiology Institute and the Earth Observatory among others aspects of the program.