NASA Orion EFT-1
Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral, Florida
NASA has come a long way from their very first Tweet-Up I attended at JPL way back when. This one was a simultaneous event at 10 NASA centers, involving 112 attendees at Kennedy Space Center in Florida alone. We had a tour of KSC and Cape Canaveral, drove by the Apollo 1 launch pad, got to see Orion EFT-1 atop the Delta IV Heavy from a relatively short distance (by general public standards), got to see the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building (including the high bay where Orion did final assembly) the former Space Shuttle Booster Fabrication Facility, and finally, a few more speakers at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Highlights included a session NASA Chief Administrator Charlie Bolden, backed up by lots of senior NASA officials (scattered among Orion, SLS, Commercial Crew, and other programs), including astronaut Rex Walheim. While viewing Orion on the tour, United Launch Alliance (ULA) president Tory Bruno came with us, avidly discussing the Delta IV Heavy rocket that they manufactured and Orion EFT-1 was using for this flight. And not to be forgotten, ATK officials talked things up about Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) heritage and the upcoming Space Launch System (SLS).
Quite inspiring, and t'was great to see NASA's enthusiasm for a manned mission to Mars as well! Some of us do plan to get there within our lifetimes-- glad to see NASA is thinking along the same lines!
Unfortunately I skipped the final hour of activities at KSC Visitor Complex due to a tight schedule. Hours later, wrapped things up with dinner at Saigon Flavors in Oviedo (NE suburb)-- surprisingly decent Vietnamese food, if you don't think about it too critically.