We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

NASA sends first space tweet

'Launch was awesome' says astronaut

A NASA astronaut sent the first Twitter message from space yesterday. The tweet came in the space shuttle Atlantis' first full day in space on a mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

"From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!" wrote Massimino, who has been Twittering about his mission training for the past month.

NASA's Atlantis craft blasted off on Monday and reached orbit within 9 minutes. With the fiery liftoff, the seven-astronaut crew began its 11-day mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble telescope, which is orbiting about 350 miles above Earth. The shuttle mission - the last one going to the Hubble - is expected to give the orbiter at least another five years of life, according to the space agency.

The shuttle is scheduled to rendezvous with Hubble today, when mission specialist and Twitterer Massimino will use the shuttle's robotic arm to reach out and grab the orbiter and pull it into the shuttle's payload bay. On Thursday, two astronauts will make the first of the mission's five spacewalks.

Massimino's Tweet didn't mention NASA's disclosure that an examination found that the heat shield on Atlantis suffered some damage during the liftoff.

The inspection found multiple dings in Atlantis' critical outer tiles. The scratches were found on the forward part of the shuttle's right wing close to where it connects to the fuselage, according to NASA spokeswoman Katherine Trinidad. NASA said the damage, found on four different heat shield tiles, looks minor, but will continue to be evaluated while the craft is orbiting about 350 miles above the Earth.

The damage appears to be related to a debris impact that occurred about 104 seconds after the Atlantis lifted off the ground, NASA said.

NASA has been especially diligent about studying the heat shields since the space shuttle Columbia broke apart upon re-entry on February 1, 2003. According to NASA, an investigation found that the disaster was caused by a hole in the heat-resistant panels that protected the wing from the high temperatures of re-entry.


IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model