NASA has randomly selected 150 of its Twitter followers, representing 12 countries, to go behind the scenes and Tweet about the final launch of its space shuttle program on July 8, the aerospace government agency announced Wednesday.
The 150 Twitter followers were selected from a pool of more than 5,500 online registrants during a 24-hour window between June 1 and 2. These winners will be allowed into the press area on July 8 to witness the launch of Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center in Central Florida.
Atlantis is scheduled for liftoff at 11:26 a.m. EST on launch pad 39A.
“This flight is incredibly important. The cargo that is coming up on this flight is really mandatory of space station,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s assistant administrator for space operations, in a statement Wednesday.
Atlantis will carry 23,000 pounds of supplies, including clothes, food and equipment, for the International Space Station, a space research facility developed by the U.S., Europe, Russia, Canada and Japan, according to USA Today.
Twitter followers selected for the special privilege represent 44 states and the District of Columbia. They also hail from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The winners will share their behind-the-scenes perspective from the Kennedy Space Center to the more than 1.1 million NASA Twitter followers. The guests will also be given a tour of the Kennedy Space Center, allowed a close-up visit to the launch pad, and be close enough to wave to the Atlantis crew members as they drive to the launch pad on July 8.
This is the fifth time NASA has invited Twitter followers to watch a space shuttle launch from a behind-the-scenes perspective. The previous groups attended the lift-offs of Atlantis’ STS-129 mission in 2009 and STS-132 mission in 2010; Discovery's STS-133 mission in 2011; and Endeavour's STS-134 mission in 2011.
To follow NASA's 150 Tweetup at Atlantis' launch, click here.