I've been invited by NASA to attend

People send me stuff. A few weeks ago, I got an email inviting me to apply for NASA press credentials at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the launch of GOES-S advanced Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S on March 1st.

This illustration depicts NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S), which is scheduled to launch March 1 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA oversees the acquisition of the spacecraft, instruments and launch vehicles for the GOES-R Series program. Credits: Lockheed Martin

…A recent tweet from NOAA about the upcoming launch:

More on the mission here: https://blogs.nasa.gov/goes/

At first, when I got the invitation to apply, I did a double take, and thought it must be a mistake, and then I thought, maybe somebody is playing a joke on me. Then after researching it, I realized it was a genuine opportunity. Apparently, all those times I’ve written about hurricanes, weather, and space technology outweighed all those times that I questioned NASA’s stance on climate change. Apparently, in addition to the traditional media channels, NASA is now making an outreach to social media, and not just the traditional print and electronic media. It sure beats NASA’s much maligned “muslim outreach“, so, I applied.

This is what I recently got back after applying. Shockingly, I was approved.


From: HQ-Social

Sent: Friday, February 02, 2018 6:34 AM

To: HQ-Social

Subject: GOES-S Social Selection

Congratulations! Recently you applied for social media credentials to attend the launch of the next generation geostationary weather satellite, GOES-S, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. We are pleased to let you know that your application has been approved to attend the event. Liftoff is targeted for approximately 5:02 pm on March 1.

The event will take place over two days, targeted for no earlier than February 28 through March 1. Registration location and time will be communicated to you once you have applied for credentials in the online system.

Please read this entire e-mail carefully for instructions on securing your spot and planning your attendance.

During the event, you will be provided with the opportunity to:

  • Tour facilities at Kennedy Space Center
  • Meet and interact with the scientists and engineers that made GOES-S and its instruments a reality
  • Hear from NOAA and NASA GOES-S experts during a special pre-launch briefing
  • View and take photographs of the ULA Atlas V rocket on the launch pad
  • Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media
  • Meet members of NASA’s social media team
  • View the launch of an ULA Atlas V rocket and the next generation geostationary weather satellite GOES-S.

So, there is also this part of the email, note the part is red that I have highlighted.

Registration indicates:

    1. You acknowledge your spot is for one person only (you) and is non-transferrable. We cannot accommodate guests.
    2. You acknowledge you are at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen.
    3. You intend to travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and attend the two-day event in person. You are responsible for your own expenses for travel, lodging, local transportation, food and other amenities. You also are responsible for your transportation to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
    4. You plan to attend the two-day event. Check-in is required on the first day of the event to receive your badge. If you do not check in on the first day of the event, you will forfeit your GOES-S Social registration for the remainder of the event. You must plan to attend all planned activities if you want to participate.
    5. VERY IMPORTANT: To be admitted, you are required to provide TWO unexpired forms of government-issued identification; one must be a photo ID that matches the name provided on the registration. Those without two forms of required identification will NOT be admitted.

Yep, just like the big guys at NYT and CNN, I’m expected to pay my own way. That’s traditional and not unreasonable, except that maybe NASA doesn’t realize that social media reporters often have no budget at all for such things.

And that’s why I’m writing today. Here’s a chance for WUWT to do something that is on par with those traditional print and electronic media folks who up until now, had a monopoly on “hands on reporting” at KSC. I’ve completed all of the requirements, and I’m just waiting for NASA to give me the location to arrive at. I’m hoping readers can chip in to help with costs.

Costs will be about $600 for airfare, about $600 for hotels (since I have to book for the entire launch window, because launch times often get delayed), a rental car at about $300, and probably another $250 for meals and expenses like parking at my departure airport. It adds up to about $2000. I can put it all on a credit card, but I’d really hope to avoid acquiring debt to embrace this opportunity. Here is the schedule: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/noaas-goes-s-briefings-and-events

Anything you can chip in will help. My sincere thanks in advance. – Anthony

UPDATE:

GOAL MET. THANKS TO EVERYONE !!!

UPDATE2: 2/22/18

I got my final instructions from NASA this morning, it’s a GO!

My sincerest thanks to everybody who chipped in, the goal was met and even exceeded a bit.

I’ll have lots of photos to share, and lots of questions to ask. Feel free to pose questions in comments below. – Anthony

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96 thoughts on “I've been invited by NASA to attend

  1. Recently you applied for social media credentials
    ****************************************************************
    while it does not apply to you since you did apply THIS would have been key phrase for those who got it unexpectedly and had not applied.

  2. Meet and interact with the scientists and engineers that made GOES-S and its instruments a reality

    This is a great opportunity for the WUWT community to contribute useful questions. You could learn a lot. The scientists and engineers are on their home turf and, if you don’t put their backs up, they are likely to give you details that wouldn’t normally come out.

    • True.
      It has been quipped, “In times of stress engineers tend to blurt out the truth.”
      Of course the answers you get may not be useful.

  3. Not cheap to travel so far, but if I got an invite for a launch, it’d be an offer I couldn’t refuse….

  4. Nice! It’s days like this you say to yourself “life it gooood”, I’m envious of you Mr. Watts!
    I’ll put something in on pay day, take lots of pics and maybe a video of the launch!
    Lance

  5. I went down to the cape to see the first Shuttle launch with my physics colleagues, then got my fill of launches at Vandenberg AFB in the mid-80’s. If they let you get close, at some point in your breathing cycle, the rumble will find a resonance mode in your lungs. That is what you’ll remember.
    Ask how the instruments were calibrated and how they intend to maintain calibration.

    • It is not possible to completely calibrate instruments before launch. Nor does that completely describe the problem. The instruments must be calibrated, meaning we know what they are telling us, and also validated, meaning we know the instruments replicate ground truth. The whole effort is called “calibration/validation,” or “cal/val” in the business. It is an ongoing and very complex process for two reasons. First, the instruments are so sensitive that several instruments made within a single production block will have different performance. That means a unique cal/val effort for each spacecraft. Second, as the instruments age, their behavior changes, and the ground processing system must compensate for that.
      For Anthony: launch is one of those things that must be experienced in person to truly appreciate. Video does not do it justice. If you ever get a chance to watch a dusk launch out of Vandenberg, TAKE IT! And hope the base isn’t socked in.

      • “It is an ongoing and very complex process…”
        Actually, for the ABI (Advanced Baseline Imager), it is not that complex. On orbit, in the process of scanning the Earth, it ‘looks’ to two different temperature sources for calibration. For cold, it looks to space called a “Space Look”. Since space is considered ultimate cold, it should register the lowest reading on the instrument. For the hot side, there is what is called a ‘Blackbody’ thermal source that they point the mirror to so the heat energy is seen by the detectors. This Blackbody temperature is monitored by separate thermistors, regulated to 300K and that info is transmitted in the telemetry so the processing systems know what temperature to expect. Due to different structures within the ABI being different temperatures at different times of day (this is a 3-axis stabilized platform), the reading reported by the ABI for the Space Look & Blackbody will be different from the known temperature. The ground processing will ‘adjust’ what the ABI reports from these sources so the unknown radiances from the Earth scene will be correct. The IR dynamic range is from ‘Space Cold’ to 320K. The ABI also uses a Solar Calibration to ensure linearity across all the Visible channels.

  6. Congratulations! Recently you applied for social media credentials to attend the launch

    ??? Did you apply? Sigh, if you didn’t NASA can’t even get a simple invite correct.
    Oh well, not as bad as their other screwups

    • There were two communications from NASA. The first was an email inviting Anthony to apply. He applied and then the second communication came through saying “you recently applied” and included all the detailed info.
      So the “you recently applied” in the second communication is correct because he did apply. However, that leaves the initial email which is interesting in itself because who, or what system of theirs deemed Anthony as ‘worthy’ to apply.
      (I’m doing this comment just to clarify because there are two comments quoting the “recently applied” and appear to contradict each other, one saying Anthony did apply and the other questioning if he did. This prompted me to reread the first section of the post to be sure: he did apply, in response to the initial email invitation to apply.

  7. We’re retired, so we can’t donate as much as I’d like, but the recognition of you and your site as a valid, responsible news organization is worth it. Here’s hoping it’s part of a wider recognition of the fallacies of AGW (much less CAGW) on the part of the Trump administration.
    I worked for and with NASA for over 25 years, and I will vouch personally for the fact that many, and maybe a majority (too much expression of politically unpopular views led to career stagnation if not dismissal [they’d seldom be so crass as to ‘fire’ you; they just eliminated your slot]), recognize the lack of science support of the dogma of the AGW ideology.

  8. Anthony,
    Congratulations!
    “Meet and interact with the scientists and engineers that made GOES-S and its instruments a reality”.
    Perhaps you will be allowed to ask a few questions?
    Thanks for all you do.
    Regards,
    Jim G1

  9. Anthony, I live about an hour north of KSC. Have been following your blog since ’07 and have learned a lot. It would be great to meet you in person (if you can squeeze me into your schedule) to thank you personally for all your efforts to combat the fake news of CO2 induced AGW! I have an MS AeroSp Engr degree from PSU (’71) and am envious of your opportunity to access the inner circle. But I’ve lost all respect for NASA. These engineers know process control systems and that lagging parameters are NEVER driving functions! Email me if a lunch or dinner meeting is possible. Bill

    • And I’m over in the Tampa Bay area. Believe I still owe you a beer (or something) for something, so if you happen to be over here on the “left coast” of Florida, maybe we can get together?

  10. I’m happy to donate. My wife works for NESDIS, she deals with NASA all the time but she has nothing but contempt for NASA and the way they operate on a daily basis without any apparent care for the taxpayer, in her view. Me, I think they do really good things, and if they can be focused on space work instead of climate, they still carry many of our dreams. You represent a lot of people Anthony, I would encourage you to see if you can get some visibility with NASA’s new leadership. I’m sure I speak for the rest of us who would be happy to write to NASA on behalf of you and your awesome site. If Bill Nye can get face time because of the Planetary Society, I believe you should be able to as well. Enjoy, and take some pictures!!

    • Ah, the Planetary Society…I stopped donating to them the day they hired BIll Nye as their President and Spokesman. It would be great if Anthony can get some face time with NASA, he has much more to offer them than Bill Nye ever had.

      • I was a long time member of The Planetary Society until they hired Bill Nye. Why on earth would they do such a stupid thing?

      • Oh boy, I am having this non stop image now, playing in my mind like a youtube video, with this flash title:
        “Ney meets Anthony Watts…on a launch pad.”
        oh boy.

      • For a while I got notices from The Planetary Society that they missed me and wanted me to rejoin. I ignore them for a while then finally replied that when they hired a real Astronomer as their president instead of a Children’s TV personality I would consider rejoining the organization. I don’t think I ever got a message from them since then. I would have even settled for Neil deGrasse Tyson…he is also an annoying TV personality but at least he knows something about Astronomy.

      • I truly can’t stand Nye, including with his association with the Planetary Society. I have been an amateur astronomer most of my life, so I knew about them, and used to listen to their podcast during my commute. On each podcast Nye has a 2-minute reserved segment for his “thoughts”, and he manages to sound like a pompous ass every single time, without adding any actually interesting content. Some time back he elevated his title to “CEO” of the Planetary Society, a title that he repeats himself on every broadcast. I would make a game of seeing whether Nye would bring up anything that was not about him, and it never happened. Finally gave up on the podcast too, I couldn’t stand the NPR-like production and all the proselytizing. Thankfully there is plenty of good astronomy content on the Pod-verse, and that does not include Tyson, another person thoroughly taken with himself. Each time I see him I change the channel. What is it with these people?

  11. I threw in a small donation. Just went down to Florida to witness the Falcon Heavy launch. It does cost a bit.
    Hope this helps.

  12. Donated! Just $10… but if we all do that.
    – We can’t know motivations but just wonder if it would have happened with the previous administration
    OT: This is the genius of PayPal. Early on I would get so pissed at them for their machinations, I couldnt see straight but now they have quit trying to get me to pay interest to them, it is invaluable to me. The fewer databases have your CC info, the better.

  13. Done!
    Even if it is a small amount; have a glass of fresh squeezed orange on me!
    Be sure to take pictures of any NASA/NOAA folks who recognize you! Especially, the panicking ones who need a change of clothes or those that run for the exits.
    Not that we should expect any of the anti-science data manglers to attend real science exhibits.

  14. It’s an event to give airlines. local hotels, local restaurants, and other local places more business — similar to sports events, where the city sponsors expect fans to come to town and spend their money.

  15. Happy to pitch in what I can! I hope you find that you are not only welcomed, but admired at the Kennedy Space Center.

  16. I was happy to donate, and after reading the comments so far, I am betting you’ve got enough already. I hope so.

  17. Donated what I can afford, hope you enjoy the trip Anthony!
    I was privileged to watch the Apollo 17 launch (nighttime – closest thing to a religious experience man can create, Billows of steam as the the motors fired up in dead silence then just as the thrust to weight went positive and the first edge of the exhaust light appeared the sound hit you and you became part of the experience! ) as well as video taping the first night landing of the shuttle at Edwards AFB – again, dead silence other than the FD commentary then two sonic booms, the eerie sound of this “flying” brick making approach.

    • Not quite as spectacular as Apollo 17, I guess, but as a reporter I watched the night launch of Pioneer Venus in 1978. It was an Atlas Centaur, probably the biggest thing we were sending up between Apollo and the Space Shuttle (still 3 years away). We watched from just 6000 feet away; when all that kerosene and LOX lit up we were engulfed in a brimstone sunrise at 2 am, and the subsequent ripping thunder melted my knees.
      The VIP tour of KSC is nice – the spacious VAB is impressive, but for me the highlight was a visit to Pad 39A, where humans left Earth for the first (and last, so far) times. The pad hadn’t been used since a Saturn V launched Skylab 5 years earlier, so we got to crawl all over the place, including the dormant crawler that carried the rockets from the VAB, and into the fire pit (deflector trench) where five F-1 engines spewed 12-foot-wide columns of pure flame. It was fun looking up and contemplating the view of the ignition of those F-1s.
      Since it hadn’t been used in 5 years, all sorts of Florida growth was starting to cover the pad, like an overgrown Mexican pyramid; 3 years later they cleaned the pad off and started launching shuttles, and, later, a Falcon Heavy.
      So, Anthony, my launch tour of KSC forty years ago remains one of my fondest lifetime memories, and by all means, GO!
      I’ll see what this retired “climate den*er” can do to help.
      Enjoy!

  18. I’ve learned so much from your site, happy to help you go. Jealous as heck. Ten bucks, what the heck. Have fun.

  19. Donation gladly made for all you do to allow a free discourse, invite meaningful commentary, and allow trolls and charlatans to be scorned.

  20. I chipped in for your trip. It’s a honor for you to be invited and represent a scientific perspective not often given the time of day in politicized science.
    It’s about time someone who isn’t in the back pocket of the green energy lobby and/or of greedy profiteers covers an important launch as an equal partner alongside the dishonest mainstream media.
    I’ll look forward to hearing about your observations and experiences. I’m curious to know what other “social media” NASA invites show up.

  21. Ok, I’m in for $50. I’d give more if you ever bothered to visit Eriador, or any other Middle Earthian locale. We aren’t some faux scientific backwater you know. We understand that everything that happens here is perfectly explained by natural causes, not by any industrial actions by our denizens. As you know, Al Gore has visited here many times and we all think he’s a loon, but we treat everyone very civilly here. Shucks, after enjoying about 5 pipefulls of Old Toby each, he actually began to make sense to me once, but I don’t remember all the details.

    • Saw two Saturn Vs. Apollo 12 & 13. Didn’t need to pay, could see, feel and hear it from miles away. And I still maintain that I saw static around Apollo 13 as if it was hit by lightning as it passed through the cloud cover at about 2000 ft. That was when I was a student at Florida Inst of Tech.

  22. Wow,
    Anthony Watts being invited to NASA.
    WUWT and Anthony being “names that should not be spoken” by “the team” less than ten years ago and now WUWT being the world’s most viewed climate website and approaching a half a billion views that will likely be reached this year. Wow, just wow!
    Not to mention numerous web awards and becoming one of the most well known names by those with an interest in all things climate and weather related.
    Wow, just wow!

  23. It makes sense to me because you were a national TV weatherman and because WUWT is a popular blog full of people who will be interested.
    If their purpose is publicity, you are an excellent choice.

  24. Donated – be interested to see how much you go over the $2k as an indication of how much support there is for you and the website amongst its readers

  25. Hope you have a blast Anthony! Sounds like a very neat opportunity and am happy to help. Thanks for all you do.
    Rich

  26. Anthony has more sense than to make this a contest of how many offensive questions he can ask. He will go as the professional he is, ask interesting, relevant questions and NASA will enjoy him.
    If you get extra $, just save it, because there will be a next timev

  27. Great! I chipped in. I hope the countdown all happens and you get to watch a lift off.. I tour the facilities back when I was a member of the Optical Surveillance Group (OSG). A couple of my telescopes are probably still be used somewhere out there. Anyway, see all you can – there is a lot to see!
    Randy

  28. I’m jealous. I worked space stuff for 30 years and never saw a launch. Worked at lot of launches, but all I saw was numbers across a screen before I gave the GO/NOGO.

  29. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Trump administration had a hand in giving a nod to WUWT. I know that Pruitt et al must comb this site religiously. Anyway, this is a ray of light in the long dark tunnel passage. Your star is ascending Anthony.

    • Unlikely IMHO; however, if Pruitt reads WUWT occasionally I bet he never reads the comments .
      He’d get too many good ideas; especially ex Nick Stokes.
      Does anyone know if Griff is OK?

  30. Had lunch with Charles the Moderator today. He just moved into my ‘neighborhood’ in South Florida on the beach, and I am slowly introducing him to all the great local seafood restaurants. The Seawatch conch fritters are like to die for, and he nearly did. He was saved by the fresh mahi-mahi entree caught just off the reef probably not 15 miles from Seawatch. Urged him to drive up to KSC (about 3.5 hours up I95, its on the right) and meet up with AW again. First the eclipse, then the launch. Memories and forged bonds. Over 100,000 watched Falcon Heavy from there. Anthony will be much closer to the launch pad.

  31. Anthony: What if the invitation was rote at at the last minute they “realize” their error and withdraw the invite…..?????

  32. Just donated, please go. If you need more money to go simply post again. I appreciate what you do. Please go.

    • Paddy that’s pretty accurate. I rent cars all the time, that’s pretty much what it costs for a long weekend. Don’t forget that any price quoted will be at least doubled by taxes and fees, a truly outrageous way by cities and states to fleece travelers.

  33. The new Goes-R satellite has shown to be awesome so far. Might as well get another Goes-S up there and improve observations even more.
    Congrats on the invite and let them know the ordinary weather people really appreciate it.

  34. Goal met great Anthony.
    Contributed to Ridd’s legal fund but not your NASA junket sorry.
    Suspect many here keep their donation money dry for ‘vital’ battles.
    Anyway just had to say that and trust you have a blast . . .
    Ps if you slander someone there I’ll definitely donate to your legal defence fund.

  35. Why WUWT?
    NASA thought they’d invite at least one or two right-wing media for ‘balance’; a new concept at NASA.
    Trump is going to notice if only left MSM attend.
    They sat down to compile a list.
    They looked at each other and well just looked at each other . . .
    One guy sheepishly put up his hand and stuttered “there um th th therrr um may be one known as WUWT”.

    • Since you label WUWT as ‘right-wing media’ and WUWT’s only ambition is to bring truth, you implicitly equate ‘right-wing’ with truthful. And the others with its opposite.

  36. Anthony, by all means go! Particularly if you’ve never seen a rocket launch. The press gets the best seats available. I have seen almost every rocket the U.S. has ever launched, including three Saturn V’s (the last, the Skylab Workshop launch, I watched from the closest spot anyone could get). There is no way to prepare someone for it, but I assure you, you will never, ever forget it!

  37. Enjoy! I was able to see 2 Apollo launches, one from the nasa bleachers 2 miles away, the other from the side of the freeway. It was awesome. You could feel the heat and you are 2 miles away. Also saw a night shuttle launch, but the Saturn 5 beat it handily for the cool factor.

  38. Congratulations on getting the invitation and the funding for it!
    I noticed that no one has mentioned TRCS – “The Right Climate Stuff Research Team” of retired NASA astronauts and engineers who did their best a while ago to assist in presenting the skeptical viewpoints.
    I suspect they (those who are still with us) would be delighted to meet you and you might be delighted to meet them and discuss things.
    Perhaps you could get in touch with them and arrange something interesting? I’m sure you know this already, but it not – try http://www.therightclimatestuff.com/
    Whether you do this or not, do have a MARVELOUS trip and report it all back to us afterwards!

  39. I got my final instructions from NASA this morning, it’s a GO!
    My sincerest thanks to everybody who chipped in, the goal was met and even a exceeding a bit.
    I’ll have lots of photos to share, and lots of questions to ask. Feel free to pose questions here in comments.

  40. on the airport parking fees…..
    check with your Florida Rental Car company. Frequently if they have a rental facility at your departure airport, they will allow you to park your car in that lot for free, and get you to your gate.

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