On July 7, a group of NASA space program fans got a surprise visit from Elmo of “Sesame Street” at the Kennedy Space Center. The Muppet participated in the two-day “tweetup” event celebrating the final flight for Atlantis and the space shuttle program.
Today’s launch marked the end of the space shuttle program after 30 years and more than 130 flights.
NASA invited 150 fans to the event, which featured meet-and-greet opportunities with astronauts and engineers in a tweetup to commemorate the historic launch. NASA astronauts were on hand to answer questions, meet with fans, and promote the space program.
As part of the festivities, Elmo made his appearance at the event decked out in a blue flight suit that matched that of astronauts Mike Massimino and Doug Wheelock. Elmo asked questions of the astronauts, who responded what it was like to live and work in space as well as the importance of math, science and engineering for a career as an astronaut.
Elmo also participated in today’s launch of the STS-135 mission, which took place at approximately11:30 a.m. Elmo joined in the countdown – he knows his numbers – and participated in the festivities. Elmo took to the @SesameStreet Twitter feed, offering his own excited commentary about the launch:
LAUNCH DAY! Blast-off is at 11:26 in the morning. Elmo could hardly sleep. Do YOU find it hard to wait for exciting things, too?
Elmo can see Atlantis far across the water, with its nose pointed to the sky. If Elmo had binoculars, he could see the shuttle better!
Rain, rain, stay away – so the Shuttle can lift off today! Elmo’s waiting as patiently as Elmo can for a weather report…
Hold on tight, astronauts! Elmo hears that something called G-forces will shake, rattle, and roll you when you get into space.
That was the most amazing thing Elmo’s seen: the shuttle took off like a big white bird! (Waay bigger than Elmo’s friend, Big Bird.)
Elmo thanks everyone @NASA for inviting him to the space shuttle launch. Elmo loves NASA!
According to Space.com, which covered the NASA tweetup event as well as the Atlantis launch, agency officials said “Sesame Street” was filming a segment in which Elmo learns about space exploration.
Visit Space.com for more coverage of the launch at Atlantis’ flight. Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center on July 20.
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