Recently I applied for and was selected to attend a two day social media event surrounding the launch of a rocket at NASA KSC. I toured the VAB. In addition to using a lot of acronyms, NASA uses a lot of confusing words. Since I have actually been to KSC before, I knew a lot of the acronyms. I received a number of questions surrounding this event and my participation in it. I did not have the answers to some of the questions. I decided to investigate and report my findings.
I was recently told by a friend that NASA which stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is privately owned. The government sold them a few years ago. However, the truth is that NASA is an agency funded and run by the United States federal government. NASA does contract with private companies, but that is nothing new. Since the beginning of the agency in 1958 it has worked with private companies to further the advancement of science benefiting our lives here on earth with groundbreaking medical research and inventions.
I have been asked how I scored a Social Media invite. The first thing I did was to fill out an application on line. If you are interested, you can find more information at http://www.nasa.gov/connect/social/index.html. There you can find out what a NASA social event is and the schedule for upcoming NASA Social events. The particular event that I applied for was for 2 days at KSC (Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida) and included tours, news conferences, and a rocket launch. During the event I asked the Director of Social Media, Jason Townsend, about the process of selecting a “crew” for these events. I was told that my event had 350 qualified applicants. NASA was selecting 50 social media users. They use seven criteria for selecting applicants.
Eligible social media criteria:
- Actively use multiple social networking platforms and tools to disseminate information to a unique audience.
- Regularly produce new content that features multimedia elements.
- Have the potential to reach a large number of people using digital platforms.
- Reach a unique audience, separate and distinctive from traditional news media and/or NASA audiences.
- Must have an established history of posting content on social media platforms.
- Have previous postings that are highly visible, respected and widely recognized.
- Does NOT feature items such as profanity, spam, adult-oriented material, and/or other inappropriate activities
For our particular event, the following activities were planned:
- view a launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket
- tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center
- speak with representatives from NASA and SpaceX
- view and take photographs of the SpaceX launch pad
- meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media
- meet members of SpaceX and NASA’s social media teams
SpaceX is an American space transport company (not a government agency) located in California. Their goal is to one day colonize Mars. They have partnered with NASA to bring supplies to the ISS (International Space Station). The Falcon 9 rocket is being used to transport those supplies. In addition to carrying necessary cargo such as food, the Falcon 9 also carries research experiments into space. While NASA conducts experiments to enhance life for astronauts, CASIS (The Center for Advancement in Space) has partnered with NASA to conduct experiments to benefit life on earth. They work with entrepreneurs and research scientists to develop ground breaking innoventions that will benefit our lives.
Some of the interesting research that is being transported involves experiments to study the effects of microgravity on bones, monitor the effects of living on a space station on muscle, bone and neurological systems, and testing of synthetic muscles. These experiments will help to benefit our lives with medical breakthroughs in the future.
During the event we were given a tour of the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building). This awesome building is massive and is one of the largest buildings in the world by volume. It was used to assemble rockets and space shuttles. Currently it is undergoing a remodel and will be used for future rockets.
For more information, visit NASA.gov, or feel free to ask questions below. I will be posting more pictures and information regarding my exciting trip in the days to come including the Falcon 9 Rocket Launch.