- Press Release-
Two Dutch space enthusiasts are invited by NASA to be there to attend the last shuttle launch.
The launch of space shuttle Atlantis marks the end of the Space Shuttle era in space. It is expected that one million Americans draw to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida for this historic event.
Remco Timmermans and Jaap Meijers, both from Nijmegen, The Netherlands, however, have the best seats. They belong to a group of 150 people from all over the world who have been invited by NASA to get a VIP treatment during the launch.
They are invited to a two day event at the launch site at Kennedy Space center, where they visit the buildings and installations, meet technicians and astronauts and eventually experience the launch from right next to the countdown clock which is always seen on television.
NASA divided the 150 tickets available among its followers on Twitter. More than 5,500 people sent in their application. The event is known as the NASA Tweetup (hashtag # NASATweetup). The draw is sometimes compared to the golden tickets from Willy Wonka, from the film Charlie and the chocolate factory.
Among the winners of a 'golden ticket' there are only six Europeans, including two Dutch. Quite coincidentally both Dutch attendees are from the same Dutch city of Nijmegen.
This weekend they travel to Florida. There the participants to the NASA Tweetup get an extensive look behind the scenes at the historic place where since 1958 all Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions were launched, just as all 134 preceding Space Shuttles.
Remco Timmermans can still remember the first shuttle launch, which he saw on television in 1981 as a 10-year-old. Remco visited the launch installations in Florida for the first time in 1996, where Atlantis then was ready to go to the Russian space station Mir. Unfortunately, that launch was postponed. Now, almost 15 years later, Remco gets a second change. Space is for Remco not only a hobby, but it also fits well with his work as an advisor on the future of tourism. This is not just about space tourism, but also about the increasing need of many people to experience something special on their vacation.
Jaap Meijers is a journalist and web developer. He built Twisst, an application that lets people know via Twitter when they can see the international space station (ISS). Thanks to @twisst (www.twisst.nl) 33,000 Twitter users in more than 163 different countries look up regularly.
For Twisst users a small ISS watching-tweetup will be organised in the Orlando area on July 5. More details here.
Note to editors
For interviews and background information, please contact Remco Timmermans and Jaap Meijers.
011 31 629 309347
remco at winterhiking dot nl
011 31 625 122391
In the USA 407 695 0551
jaap at eerlijkemedia dot nl
Information about the latest Space Shuttle launch: