After 130 space shuttle missions, NASA is counting down to its final space shuttle launch before the fleet is scheduled to retire — and its giving 150 of its Twitter followers a front-row seat at the historic launch.

The agency's fifth shuttle launch Tweetup is scheduled July 7-8 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Shuttle Atlantis is targeted to lift off on its mission to the International Space Station at about 11:40 a.m. EDT on July 8. The official launch date will be announced after a Flight Readiness Review meeting on June 28.

Those selected to participate in the Tweetup will tour the center, view the shuttle launch and speak with NASA managers, astronauts, shuttle technicians and engineers from across the agency. Tweetup registration opens at noon on Wednesday, June 1, and closes at noon on June 2. NASA will randomly select the 150 participants.

Shown above is a view of the space shuttle Atlantis looking directly down onto the shuttle atop the Mobile Launcher Platform and crawler-transporter was taken from the VAB roof approximately 525 feet above the ground.

Photos courtesy of NASA


Jessica Mulholland  |  Web Editor/Photographer

Jessica Mulholland has been a writer and editor for more than 10 years. She was previously the editor of Emergency Management magazine, and she loves that she can incorporate her passion for photography into her work as a part of the Government Technology editorial team. Jessica can be reached at on Twitter and on Google+.