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TMCNet:  Local man selected to attend launch of NASA satellite

[January 31, 2013]

Local man selected to attend launch of NASA satellite

MCLEANSBORO, Jan 31, 2013 (McLeansboro Times-Leader - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- As a child, Todd Tracy spent many nights viewing the night sky with his father, "looking at constellations, planets and various deep-sky objects." In a few weeks, the Hamilton County resident will have his eyes to the sky again -- this time to witness the launch of a satellite into space.


Tracy is one of 80 social-media experts selected by NASA to attend the Landsat Data Continuity Mission launch NASA Social on Feb. 10 and 11 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, Calif.

Being selected for the NASA Social is "an incredible honor," Tracy said.

"Being part of the NASA Social means I'll meet people who make the space program successful and interact with fellow Social attendees who share my interest in NASA," he said.

Tracy's consulting firm, Trusted Biz Solutions, works with business clients throughout the Midwest on a variety of business issues, he said. Since 2009, with the rise of importance of social media, Tracy has become somewhat specialized, he said, in working with clients on creating engaging, sensible and strategic social-media plans to help them engage more customers and increase their exposure." And he'll be using that expertise to relay his NASA experience.

"Through Twitter and other social media, I'll be sharing the incredible experience with my followers by composing informative tweets, posts and sharing photos and videos," Tracy said.

Tracy has been a fan of NASA and followed its missions closely through the years, he said. Both of his parents were teachers, and his father, who was a science teacher at McLeansboro High School for more than 15 years, introduced him to science and astronomy "at a very early age," Tracy said.

When he was 15, Tracy followed NASA's Teacher in Space project, which placed high school social studies teacher Christa McAuliffe as crew member aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, he said. McAuliffe and the rest of the Challenger crew lost their lives when the shuttle exploded.

"Watching that tragic disaster made space exploration real," Tracy said, "and it encouraged me to further my understanding of the hobby." As a NASA Social participant, Tracy will have the opportunity to tour NASA facilities at Vandenberg and meet and interact with engineers, technicians and other team members from NASA's Landsat mission, according to information provided by NASA.

He will get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Air Force base, home of the 30th Space Wing, to learn about NASA's Launch Services Program and how it matches spacecraft with rockets, view and take photographs of the LDCM rocket and launch pad, and meet fellow Landsat and space enthusiasts who are active on social media and members of NASA's social media teams.

And if all goes according to schedule, Tracy will view the launch of LDCM, which is scheduled to lift off aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket between 10 and 10:48 a.m. PST on Feb. 11.

Landsat satellites gather data and imagery of Earth that is used in agriculture, education, business, science and government, according to information from NASA. The data from the Landsat spacecraft constitutes the longest record of the Earth's continental surfaces as seen from space, the news release said.

--The NASA Social event can be viewed on cable and satellite television via the NASA station or online at http://www.ustream.tv/nasatelevision.

Copyright 2013 McLeansboro Times-Leader. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

___ (c)2013 the McLeansboro Times-Leader (Mount Vernon, Ill.) Visit the McLeansboro Times-Leader (Mount Vernon, Ill.) at www.mcleansborotimesleader.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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