Wednesday, September 21, 2011


This was honestly the single most surreal experience of my entire life; seeing the Delta II leave the launch pad left me literally speechless. 

The Tweetup as a whole will no doubt impact my future to a degree I still have yet to discover. To say that this renewed and empowered my dreams would be a drastic understatement.

Thank you NASA, I'll see you around.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Close Call

First launch window at 8:29:45 am ET. 80% favorable weather.

L-1:59 - 6:30 am weather is GREEN
L-1:02 - 7:27 am weather is RED
L-0:24 - 8:05 am weather is GREEN
L-0:08 - 8:21 am weather is RED

Main concern up to this point is upper level winds

Configuring to 2nd launch window at 9:08:52 am ET.

Anvil clouds had begun to form at this point which was also a concern.

L-0:14 - 8:54 am weather is GREEN
L-0:08 - 9:01 am final GO/No GO poll comes back a GO
L-0:02 - 9:06 am final verification is given
L-0:00:13 - 9:08 am GREEN weather board. GRAIL is GO for launch!
L-0 - 9:08:52.775 LIFTOFF of GRAIL atop a Delta II 7920H-10 headed to study the moon!

As you can see from above, GRAIL finally made it off the ground on the 6th launch window and my last chance as my plane left several hours after liftoff.

It was a rocky road to launch but GRAIL made it off the ground. Everything has performed flawlessly since. Fingers crossed it will stay that way.

Orbital insertion for GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B on December 31 and January 1, respectfully.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Today was great. For starters we slept in until 10:30 am which felt amazing. Sleepwise, we had gotten six total hours of sleep in the past two days. So a solid 10 or so feels amazing.

We made arrangements to meet at Dixie Crossroads, a seafood restaurant in Titusville, with a couple other Tweeps at 1 pm. To kill some time we decided to check out some museums and memorials in the area. We looked at an astronaut memorial which was really cool. 

Ed White of Apollo I

John F. Kennedy during his Rice University Speech in 1962

Then we browsed through a museum of an extremely in depth collection of space memorabilia which included a complete mission control room from America’s early days in space. After that it was time for Dixie Crossroads.

We got there around 12:30 pm and ordered drinks and started nibbling on these donut hole/funnel cake things. We honestly didn’t leave until around 4 pm. We were in no hurry and were more than happy to wait for Hannah and Matt. I had 6 coconut and 6 bacon wrapped shrimp which were all amazing. Hands down, best seafood I’ve had.

The rest of the day, the #MQF crew just chilled. We actually had a really epic tweetfest. 

#Launchpad and #MQF filled the pipelines with hashtags galore. It’s almost midnight and we’re just about to head to bed.

Tomorrow is the day, go big or go home.

Signing off.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The two instantaneous launch windows this morning did not yield proper conditions for a launch.

Delta control made it to the hold at T-4:00 and balloon data came back RED for upper level winds on the first attempt. Launch window #2 was scrubbed for the same reason with some potentially threatening cumulous clouds adding to the mix.

At this point I had a pretty big decision to make. I could either stay and board my plane at 6 pm and go back to classes the next day or I could spend $200, take a gamble and stay for another day or two, and potentially see the launch.

I figured, screw it, what’s the worst that could happen; GRAIL doesn’t launch and I get to hang out with a bunch of really cool people for a few days? I mean, I’m already down here in the Sunshine State anyway and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

So I decided to stay until Saturday.

Meanwhile the #MQF crew headed down to Kennedy Space Center to kill some time. We went on the Shuttle Experience which was cool, very realistic. After mucking around for awhile we headed to EndlessBBQ and hung out there for a good six or seven hours. Really fun stuff, cool group. Then we headed home to #MQF.

That’s when we got the news.

As I was browsing my tweets on the ride back to our hotel, one caught my eye. A tweet from @AeroSpaceGuide claimed the two launch attempts tomorrow morning had been cancelled already and this was at 10:30 pm. We all claimed bullshit. No official report from NASA, Jim Adams, or KSC had been given. Alas, within a half hour, official confirmation was announced. Delta Control had encountered some questionable data while detanking and they want some time to review it. So they’re taking tomorrow, the 9th, to check that out.

Hopefully there aren’t any issues with the hardware of the rocket as that would present long term delays. Tomorrow will be a much needed “catch up on sleep” day. But for now, fingers crossed.

Signing off.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Any cognitively aware human stepping foot into the Vehicle Assembly Building would instantly be overcome by reverse claustrophobia. You feel like the smallest most insignificantly negligible piece of matter in the universe. Looking up into the largest single story building in the world is the closest thing to flying while standing on solid ground. It wasn't until we boarded the buses to leave that I realized had completely forgotten to tweet for the entire time we were in the VAB.

A pleasant surprise as we rounded the corner, Endeavor sat being picked apart. This vehicle has traveled at a speed of over 25 times the speed of sound.

Besides the VAB we visited the Delta II with GRAIL atop from a couple hundred feet away at Launch Complex 17B. 

This will be the 356th Delta II launch as well as the final Delta II launch from Kennedy Space Center and the final launch from LC-17B.

We also were taken to see Launch Complex 41 which is where Mars Science Laboratory is lifting off from in the coming months.

Aside from that, presentations from several extremely notable persons were given. Those included the NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People Neil deGrasse Tyson, and lt. Uhera from Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols.

Neil Tyson was most likely the crowd favorite as he was very enthusiastic and colorful speaker. He also stuck around with the Tweetup for the rest of the day. 

Charlie Bolden was also very well liked as he was incredibly honest. He didn't play the whole politician role, he was actually very humble. One tweep asked a question which Bolden quite obviously wouldn't know the answer to, and instead of bullshitting an answer he plainly told him that it is the engineers and physicists jobs to know.

Basically, one of the best days I've ever had. Tomorrows launch (fingers crossed) will only make it better.

Signing off.

It's On

I’m finally here. Met up with Asten at the airport and he gave me a lift to #MQF house. Got about four hours of sleep last night, so pretty solid. We’ve started introductions and everyone is really cool. 

After that we’re starting off on our first set of tours. Sally Ride is a no show but everyone else is supposedly still coming.

The #MQF boys are super badass.

I feel like a celeb because of the constant strobe effect going on here. There’s also some crazy telephoto lens’ and they are ridikidonk.

Humid but cool at the moment.

Keep up to date with me on @Garrettishere

Monday, September 5, 2011

16 Hours

Greetings humans. I am freaking out.

In 16 hours I will be taking off on a Canadair Jet headed for the Windy City and then onwards to Orlando. I'll be skipping seven classes in total during my first three days of college.

I'm getting all my gadgets and chargers packed up for the trip - a ton of tech gear.

During my trip I will be meeting the first women in space, one of 12 men to step foot on the moon, the administrator of NASA, and 149 other amazing tweeps.

Anyone interested in reading the article in the Oregon Observer about the Tweetup click here.

Feel free to tweet any questions to @Garrettishere or message me on Facebook.