A Buffalo Public School employee and her husband have been chosen by NASA's Johnson Space Center among 30 @NASA Twitter followers to test their skills at space shuttle ascent, rendezvous or landing aboard the same simulator astronauts use to train for their missions.
On Tuesday, July 19, during space shuttle Atlantis' STS-135 mission to the International Space Station, City Honors School’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Coordinator Elissa M. Banas, Esq. will get a behind-the-scenes tour at Johnson Space Center in Houston, and a hands-on opportunity aboard the space shuttle simulator to take control in a training scenario.
Ms. Banas is the type of person who constantly encourages students to dream and live large. And on the basis of one little Tweet, not only is Banas going to live out a dream, but true to form, her next thought was, “I'll have some great information to share with our science students.”
Ms. Banas’ husband Bill was picked to participate as well. Bill works at Moog, a NASA subcontractor. The one-time recipient of a Graduate Fellowship with NASA Goddard, Bill is also “all but dissertation” on his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. It’s easy to understand why the Banases are followers of NASA on Twitter.
Ms. Banas says they have enough frequent flier miles for both to fly to Houston. While there, they’ll keep everyone posted through Twitter. “My twitter is @elissabflo and [Bill’s] is @buffalobill1. I'll probably be tweeting for non-science people, and Bill will tweet the technical stuff.”
And both are very grateful to be chosen. "To be a part of the history of this final mission is just incredibly exciting. This is the first time civilians are being given access to the shuttle simulator at Johnson Space Center. We'll also be meeting with the flight director of the current mission, STS-135, as well as astronauts,” Banas says.
And there’s history. Both Elissa and Bill were fortunate enough to see two space shuttle launches from the press center at KSC (just three miles away), back in 1998 (STS-90) and 2002 (STS-109). At the time, Ms. Banas reported on the STS-90 mission for local and national publications.
The Tweetup, as it’s being called, will also include a "meet and greet" session to allow participants to mingle with fellow Tweeps and the staff behind the tweets on @NASA and @NASA_Johnson.