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ULA Hosts First Tweetup, Prepares to Launch Atlas Rocket

United Launch Alliance hosted the first half of its two-day "Tweetup" today. The second half will take place tomorrow during launch activities for the Atlas V 401 rocket carrying the SBIRS GEO 2 spacecraft. Photo Credit: Jeffrey J. Soulliere
United Launch Alliance hosted the first half of its two-day “Tweetup” today. The second half will take place tomorrow during launch activities for the Atlas V 401 rocket carrying the SBIRS GEO-2 spacecraft. Photo Credit: Jeffrey J. Soulliere

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — United Launch Alliance (ULA) conducted its first “Tweetup” today at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Colorado-based company held the event the day prior to the planned launch of an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

While NASA has been hosting “Tweetups” (since renamed “Socials”) since 2009, this is the first one held by ULA. Given that, by all accounts this event was a complete success; there can be little doubt that these events could become a regular occurrence during the launches and other events that ULA manages at both Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Participants got to witness the rollout of the Atlas V from the Vertical Integration Facility or "VIF" to the adjacent Space Launch Complex 41. Photo Credit: Jeffrey J. Soulliere
Participants got to witness the rollout of the Atlas V from the Vertical Integration Facility, or “VIF,” to the adjacent Space Launch Complex 41. Photo Credit: Jeffrey J. Soulliere

The response was very positive, both by participants and officials that were present for the lead-up to launch.

“United Launch Alliance and Lockheed Martin are close partners, and the Tweetup that is being held is a very important effort. Anytime that we can use Twitter, Facebook, and other social mediums to attract attention to the good work we’re doing and inspire the next generation of our work force—it’s absolutely critical to the future of not just the space program, but our aerospace industry and the nation as a whole,” said Michael Friedman with Lockheed Martin.

Guests who were fortunate enough to be selected by ULA to attend the event were treated to a full day’s worth of activities. They got to see a number of the milestones that ULA conducts prior to launching the venerable Atlas V as well as key facilities such as the Morrell Operations Center, the Vertical Integration Facility, and Space Launch Complex 41 itself.

United Launch Alliance representative Tony Taliancich addresses the crowd at the first-ever ULA Tweetup. Photo Credit: Jeffrey J. Soulliere
United Launch Alliance representative Tony Taliancich addresses the crowd at the first-ever ULA Tweetup. Photo Credit: Jeffrey J. Soulliere

“Today’s Tweetup was a complete success. Our guests got to see the Atlas V launch vehicle roll out to the pad, visit the Morrell Operations Center, and tour the facilities where we conduct the launches,” said ULA’s Jessica Rye.

Tomorrow will be a busy one as well, with the Tweetup being allowed to witness a rocket launch first hand—that is, if the weather cooperates. Clouds gave way to rain later in the day. Prior to this front moving in, weather conditions were at 70 percent of providing favorable conditions for launch.

The Atlas V that is currently at Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 41 is carrying the second of the U.S. military’s Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Orbit satellites, more commonly known as “SBIRS GEO-2“ or just “SBIRS.”

THis panorama shot was shot by AMericaSpace's Jeffrey J. Soulliere from the gate to Space Launch Complex 41. Photo Credit: Jeffrey J. Soulliere
This panorama shot was shot by AmericaSpace’s Jeffrey J. Soulliere from the gate to Space Launch Complex 41. Photo Credit: Jeffrey J. Soulliere

 

 

Missions » SBIRS » GEO 2 »

Written by Jason Rhian

Jason Rhian gained Bachelor’s Degrees in journalism and public relations from the University of South Florida and spent countless hours volunteering with NASA and other space groups to gain experience. He has interned with NASA twice. Once at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) press site in 2007 and with NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) in 2009.

Jason has worked with a number of space-related groups and events - including Google Lunar X-PRIZE team Omega Envoy, the 2009 International Space Development Conference and NASA's KSC press site. Jason has covered over 30 launches. His work has been published in Aviation Week & Space Technology, The Spaceport News and online with MSNBC.com, Space.com, SpaceRef.com, Spacevidcast.com, Universe Today and other websites.

Whereas some journalists are comfortable repurposing a press release and using imagery provided to them by the public relations arm of that organization – Jason has made a habit of getting behind the pre-approved announcements to cover the events first hand. He covered President Obama’s remarks live from Kennedy Space Center in April 2010. Jason also flew out to Utah to cover the test fire of Alliant Techsystems second test of the company’s Development Motor-2 (DM-2). More recently, he sat in the backseat of history, flying on NASA’s Shuttle Training Aircraft with STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson as he trained for the last mission of the space shuttle era during the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT).

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