by Geoff on April 23, 2011

The NASA Tweetup for the final launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour is less than a week away!  However, I’m heading out of town early Monday morning for a few days in New York City for work.  So, I’m having to figure out exactly how to pack for a trip that includes two states, visiting a client, and, of course, the amazing experience of seeing a Space Shuttle launch in the Sunshine State as well as participating in the NASA Tweetup.  Following the Tweetup, I’ll be heading back to NYC for more work the following week.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining.  I love NYC, and watching the shuttle launch is the opportunity of a lifetime (or two), so this week should be lots of fun.  Yes, I’ll be working hard the first few days, but that will come easy knowing what awaits me at Kennedy Space Center on Thursday.

Here’s one view of my trip, as illustrated by the FlightTrack Pro app by Mobiata (click for larger view):

Path to Tweetup

So here’s my general packing list:

  • Camera gear: camera body, 18-55mm, rented 100-400 mm lens, tripod, and/or monopod
  • Flip camera – Sure, Cisco is closing them down, but my HD Flip camera is great for capturing good quality video without hauling around even more large gear.
  • iPhone – Well, this is really a no-brainer, as it goes anywhere I do 🙂  I imagine this will be where most of my tweets come from while at NASA.  It’s also great for using Facetime to chat with my wife and almost-21-month-old who will be back at home.
  • iPad 2 – I’ve only had this less than a month, but I’ve quickly become addicted.  The Twitter app on iPad 2 is superb – a model more iPad apps should follow as they plan their user interfaces.  I’ll leave my Kindle at home since the iPad has a great Kindle app.
  • Laptop
  • Clothes for business trip – This just sounds boring in my head as I type it.  Next item…
  • Clothes for NASA Tweetup and STS-134 Launch – The requirement from NASA is to wear long pants and close-toed shoes for the tour parts of the Tweetup, so this shouldn’t be hard to figure out.  It’s fitting it in with everything else that will be…fun.
  • Box and packing materials to ship back rented 100-400mm lens – This is not a small or light lens.  I’m hoping to ship it back from Florida.  I’ll already be hauling it from Arkansas to New York to Orlando, so it will be nice to return this and not need to lug it around anymore.
  • Assortment of chargers and power cords

So, other than the standard packing items (toothpaste, etc.), what am I leaving off this list?  Any prior NASA Tweetup attendees see any glaring oversights?  Please comment below and let me know what you think?

EDIT:  Here’s the list of packing items other people have reminded me of either on the comments here or on Twitter or Facebook.  I won’t be bringing all of these, but there are some great suggestions.

  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Several reminders for these items:  Two IDs, long pants, close-toed shoes (requirements from NASA for the Tweetup and tours…I hadn’t forgotten these, I just left them off the list since it was specific to the NASA Tweetup attendees – but it’s a great reminder to all)
  • Stereo microphone for recording launch audio
  • Sharpies – black and silver (for people to sign things with)
  • Hat
  • Journal to jot notes (I’ll use my iPhone/iPad)
  • Power strip/squid of some kind

Thanks!  Keep the ideas coming!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

karen lopez April 23, 2011 at 1:46 am

Bug spray, sun lotion. I’m bringing Sharpies so that I can have people sign things.


Geoff April 23, 2011 at 1:49 am

All good ideas. I think I’ll add a “suggested in comments” list to the post and keep it updated. Thanks!


@cpm5280 April 23, 2011 at 1:46 am

I don’t recall who your rented lens is from, but I’ve had good luck with having rentals sent to a FedEx shop for pickup & dropped off at same with prepaid label to ship back. I did so for STS-125, and it worked like a charm. Picking up my rentals from a FedEx just north of the Orlando airport, just as before. Easier than carrying that much more mass on the flight!


Geoff April 23, 2011 at 1:50 am

Great tip. I thought about doing that. However, I don’t have any experience with this or similar lenses, so I wanted some time to get comfortable with it before arriving at KSC.


FloridaBeachMediaGroup April 23, 2011 at 4:52 am

Well … there are a few things you will need … sunblock and patience. I always caution everyone who films the Shuttle launches that lighting conditions change quickly and even NASA hasn’t really figured out how to light meter the fast changes after watching the Shuttle on the pad to the sudden artificial star not unlike a tactical nuke going off – yes it really does become that bright. NASA’s solution is to either focus on the Orbiter itself or the flame behind it, but never both. Like Florida sunsets, each and every Shuttle experience is different but each indeed is Earth’s best eye candy at the current moment. Every viewer for the first time asks why NASA would be so stupid to cancel the Shuttle, and my answer is always the same: look at the price tag of what you just saw. There are cheaper, greener, better ways to get into space now but I humbly admit, nothing for the rest of our lives will ever be so fun to watch, because of the “eye candy” of it all.


Kerri Peterson-Davis April 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

Hey Geoff
It wasn’t a tweet-up but a couple of things that were helpful last May for the launch included a hat and journal to jot some notes (or on your iphone/ipad). have fun and remember to watch it with the naked eye too!


Geoff April 23, 2011 at 9:12 am

Definitely. I don’t plan on having my face behind a camera during the actual launch at all.


Brent Haeseker April 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

I was at STS-132 NASATweetup – yes, definitely bring sunscreen and a hat or you will get sunburnt. Here in Florida we are having a hot spring and many days with no clouds, so think 95+ temps with full sun and no shade at Press site (when outside of tent, of course).

Make sure you have all proper ID’s you need according to NASA Tweetup guidelines.

A good high-greade stereo mic recorder, if you have one, for recording the sound of launch.

Copy of the tweetup agenda, mission info and bios of speakers.


Geoff April 23, 2011 at 11:49 am

Good idea on the audio recorder. I think I’m going to make sure my iPad/iPhone are loaded via Dropbox (Dropbox referral link) with the press kit, Tweetup agenda, etc.


Tom April 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm

If you’re driving and have a portable GPS, that might be worth bringing. I don’t know my way around and with traffic, it will be good to have alternate routes available.

I’m also bringing a mini tape recorder for tours, interviews, etc. I have a feeling stuff will fly by and I don’t want to miss it (and have it for later blogging/tweeting).

See you and the rest of our tweetup gang in a few days.


Shannon (@ageekmom) April 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm

If you have business cards or contact information cards, those are handy, too. I made some specifically for #NASATweetup & other space-related events (SpaceUp, etc.) I attend.


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