Astronauts sky high on out-of-this-world twittering

The Shuttle Discovery crew are upbeat on the use of Twitter in orbit as a way to connect with the public

The astronauts of Space Shuttle mission STS-131 are delighted by the response to their extra-terrestrial Twitter messages, they said Monday.

In space for 16 days, the crew included NASA astronaut Clay Anderson (@Astro_Clay) and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki (@Astro_Naoko) who kept tens of thousands of followers on the ground updated with the progress of the mission.

"I think it's a very effective way, a very quick way, a very easy way for crew members to relate to people on the ground to tell them the excitement and the spectacular views that we have," said Anderson at a Tokyo news conference. "It's a great way to communicate the wonder of spaceflight."

Anderson's messages included snippets about his time in space that managed to cram his enthusiasm for the mission in 140 characters or less.

"Day 8 in orbit about the Earth! Beautiful views to relax to, after a 7 hour & 26 minute EVA! Whew! What a vehicle!," he wrote on April 13.

But they almost didn't make it online. A malfunctioning dish antenna on Space Shuttle Discovery meant Anderson wasn't able to transmit the messages from the Shuttle itself and had to wait until it docked with the International Space Station. From their he was able to use the space station's communications equipment.

"I sent it to some people on the ground who then did the tweeting for me from Houston," he said.

It was just over a year ago, on May 12, 2009, that the first message was posted to Twitter from space. Astronaut Mike Massimino (@Astro_Mike) sent a tweet from Space Shuttle Atlantis. He's become the most-followed astronaut on the micro-blogging site with almost 1.3 million people subscribed to his Twitter feed.

Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki said she valued Twitter for the feedback it brought her from followers on the ground.

"I got feedback from the readers," she said. "I hope this communication will be more advancing in the future so that space will get more familiar to us."

She became the second Japanese astronaut to use Twitter in space, following in the footsteps of Soichi Noguchi (@Astro_Soichi), who built up a following of several hundred thousand people by tweeting out photographs he had taken from the ISS, sometimes snapped to order after requests from followers. Noguchi recently returned to Earth on June 2.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags spaceJapan Aerospace Exploration AgencyNational Aeronautics and Space Administrationsocial networkingtwittersocial mediainternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?