On January 22, 2010, 10 years ago today, astronaut TJ Creamer became the first person in space to physically send a tweet from the International Space Station (ISS). Take a look at his tweet:
Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station — the 1st live tweet from Space! 🙂 More soon, send your ?s
— TJ Creamer (@Astro_TJ) January 22, 2010
If you’re thinking, “but I remember astronauts tweeting before 2010!” Well, not exactly. On May 12, 2009, astronaut Mike Massimino became the first person in space to have a tweet sent on his behalf.
From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!
— Mike Massimino (@Astro_Mike) May 12, 2009
According to a 2009 NASA feature, astronauts had no internet access aboard space shuttles, except to send an email one or two times a day. Before 2010, astronauts would email ground support personnel and arrange for tweets to be sent for them. At that time, the ISS only had “official e-mail, Internet Protocol telephone and limited videoconferencing capabilities,” according to a NASA press release.
On January 22, 2010, the ISS was given a special software upgrade — the ability for astronauts to personally use the internet, which enabled them to send tweets on their own. Their personal internet connection is called Crew Support LAN, and you can learn more about it here. Today, astronauts who are currently aboard the ISS often tweet from space, sharing their experiences and keeping us up-to-date on their daily activities. You can follow them on Twitter: Christina Koch (@Astro_Christina), Andrew Morgan (@AstroDrewMorgan), Luca Parmitano (@astro_luca), and Jessica Meir (@Astro_Jessica).
You can see the ISS anywhere using apps like ISS Detector (Android) or ISS Spotter (iPhone), which send you alerts when the station is visible in the sky. But if you want to see more than a moving dot, you will need a telescope. Just a few months ago, Dan Peluso, an Astrophysics PhD Student at USQ, caught the ISS transiting in front of the Moon with the eVscope!
“About two minutes before the predicted transit time, I pressed record on my iPhone and crossed my fingers that I would catch the transit. Just as predicted and shortly after my clock turned to 3:43 am, I saw a small shadow speed across the disk of the Moon! “Wow!”, I said to myself. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I got it! After I let my phone record the live event for a bit more time, I stopped the recording and opened the saved video from my photo roll to check that what I had just witnessed wasn’t my imagination playing tricks on me.”
Read more about Dan’s experience here and be sure to check out his video below!
Ready for a challenge? If you already have your eVscope, capture the ISS in a picture or video and share it with us! 🛰💫