At 4:22 p.m. EST on Feb. 17, NASA tweeted:
Shuttle Endeavour's crew awoke at 4:14pET to the song "Window on the World" by Jimmy Buffett.
Endeavor was docked at the International Space Station, the international research facility being assembled in low earth orbit. Those who have been following NASA on Twitter would know that crew of six on Endeavor were busy at work installing life-support facilities and adding the final touches to the new observatory, Cupola. On Feb. 16, at 11:52 EST, NASA tweeted:
Cupola's covers have been removed. Spacewalkers now will release cupola launch locks & install handrails & fixtures on Tranquility.
Walter Cronkite may be dead, and we no longer believe that television can bring the nation to the moon at the same time, but NASA's Twitter feed manages to give its 270,000 followers the chance to almost be in space with its astronauts -- in real time.
Over the past few days, flight engineer Soichi Noguchi has been beaming down photos of the earth from the International Space Station, providing surreal and breathtaking views of the Arabian dessert and Beijing's Forbidden City. Twitter, with its 140-character limit, only offers snapshots of life in space. This forces people to fill in the blanks between each Twitter moment and imagine and re-invent space.
Endeavor is scheduled to undock from the ISS today and land at Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 21. Noguchi bid farewell to the other astronauts on the ISS, and tweeted on Feb. 19:
Hatch closed, and docked mission completed. Undock will be tomorrow. Tonight we still see each other through the window...
And through Twitter, of course. Only four flights remain for Endeavor before it is retired at the end of this year. At least, there will be Twitter to document its remarkable journeys.