NASA will host a two-day event for 60 of its social media followers on Monday, Jan. 28, and Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., for the launch of a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-K (TDRS-K), the first in a series of refurbishing satellites of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS). NASA's TDRS-K is scheduled to lift off aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 8:52 p.m. on Jan. 29, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
TDRSS is the space segment of one of NASA's three space communications networks, the Space Network. The Space Network is operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. Operations on the network run above 99.5% proficiency every month. Usually the Space Network operates above 99.9%.
A sampling of Space Network users includes: the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station, Aqua, Aura, Terra and Landsat spacecraft and government rockets launched from Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg.
NASA Social participants will have the opportunity to:
- View the launch of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-K
- Tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center
- Meet and interact with scientists, engineers, and other team members from NASA and the TDRS-K mission
- Learn about NASA's Launch Services Program and how they match spacecraft with rockets
- View and take photographs of the ULA launch pad with the Atlas V rocket carrying the spacecraft ready for lift-off
- Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media
- Meet members of NASA's social media teams
Registration opens on this page at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 and closes at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012.
What is a NASA Social?
A NASA Social is an informal meeting of people who use social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Participants at this event will be provided a unique in-person experience with NASA, which they are encouraged to share with others through their favorite social network.
How do I register?
Registration opens at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, and closes at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. Participants will be randomly selected from online registrations. Registration is for one person only (you) and is non-transferable.
Additional registrants will be placed on a waiting list.
Do I need to have a social media account to register?
Yes. This event is designed for active social media users who follow NASA on Twitter (@NASA, @NASASocial, @NASAGoddard, @ExploreSpaceKSC, @NASAKennedy), Facebook (NASA, NASA Kennedy, NASA Goddard and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex) or Google+ (NASA, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex). The goal of NASA Social is to allow people who regularly interact with each other via social networks to meet in person and discuss space exploration.
Users on all social networks are encouraged to use the hashtag #NASASocial and #TDRS. Updates and information about the event will be shared on Twitter via @NASAKennedy, @NASAGoddard and @NASASocial and via posts to Facebook and Google+.
If you are not a regular user of social media and just want to see a spacecraft launch, NASA offers other ways to experience a launch. Learn more at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/viewing.html.
What are the registration requirements?
Registration indicates your intent to travel to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and attend the two-day event in person. You are responsible for your own expenses for travel, accommodation, food and other amenities.
Some events and participants scheduled to appear at the event are subject to change without notice. NASA is not responsible for loss or damage incurred as a result of attending. NASA moreover, is not responsible for loss or damage incurred if the event is cancelled with limited or no notice. Please plan accordingly.
The Kennedy Space Center is a government facility. Those who are selected to attend will need to complete an additional registration step to receive clearance to enter the secure areas. To be admitted, you will need to show two government-issued identifications (one with a photo) that match the name provided on the registration. Those without proper identification cannot be admitted. All registrants must be at least 18 years old.
Can I register if I am not a U.S. citizen?
Because portions of this event may take place in restricted areas, registration is limited to U.S. citizens. If you have a green card, you will be processed as a U.S. citizen. Those who are selected will need to complete an additional registration step to receive clearance to enter the secure areas. To be admitted, you will need to show two government-issued identifications (one with a photo) that match the name provided on the registration. Those without proper identification cannot be admitted. All registrants must be at least 18 years old.
Does my registration include a guest?
Because of space limitations, you may not bring a guest. Each registration provides a place for one person only (you) and is non-transferable. Each individual wishing to attend must register separately.
What if I cannot come to the Kennedy Space Center?
If you cannot come to the Kennedy Space Center and attend in person, you should not register for the NASA Social. You can follow the conversation using the #NASASocial hashtag on Twitter. NASA may broadcast a portion of the program on Jan. 28. You can watch the launch on Jan. 29 on NASA TV. NASA will provide regular launch and mission updates on @NASA and @NASAKennedy.
If you cannot make this NASA Social, don't despair; NASA is planning others in the near future at various locations. Check back on http://www.nasa.gov/social for updates.
When will I know if I am selected?
After registrations have been received and processed, an email with confirmation information and additional instructions will be sent to those selected and those on the waitlist. We expect to send notifications no later than Dec. 28.
If you do not make the registration list for this NASA Social, you can still attend the launch and participate in the conversation online. Find out about ways to experience a launch at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/viewing.html.
What if the spacecraft's launch date changes?
Hundreds of different factors can cause a scheduled launch date to change multiple times. The launch date will not be official until after the Flight Readiness Review, which is scheduled for Jan. 23. If the launch date changes prior to then, NASA may adjust the date of the NASA Social accordingly to coincide with the new target launch date. NASA will notify registrants of any changes by email.
If the launch is postponed for 12 hours on Jan. 29, attendees will be invited to attend the launch on Jan. 30. NASA cannot accommodate attendees for delays beyond 72 hours.
NASA Social attendees are responsible for any additional costs they incur related to any launch delay. We strongly encourage participants to make travel arrangements that are refundable and/or flexible.
Does registration for and/or attendance at the NASA Social qualify me for media accreditation?
Your NASA Social registration and/or attendance does not qualify you for news media credentials at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, now or in the future.
Can you tell me more information on TDRSS and the Space Network?
Established in 1973, the TDRSS is the space segment of one of NASA's three space communications networks, the Space Network. It consists of a constellation of geosynchronous (Earth orbiting) satellites. The ground stations are based in White Sands, New Mexico and Guam. The Space Network's prime design goal was to provide continuous, around the clock communications services to NASA's most critical low earth-orbiting missions, both human and robotic, and improve the amount of data that could be received. Launches of TDRS satellites began in the 1980s and have continued through the new millennium. Most of these satellites are still operational today with a number of them operating beyond their design life.
The Space Network Project Office is based out of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Have a question not answered here? Need more information? Help is available by sending an email to HQ-Social@mail.nasa.gov.