Norwich man gets lucky chance to tweet NASA space shuttle launch

Jack Dearlove will be taking one small step for man but one giant leap for Norfolk's Twitter community at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre later this month.

The former Sprowston High School student has been picked by NASA as one of just 150 lucky people to give live updates from the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour in Florida on April 29.

Mr Dearlove, 20, is currently finishing his second year studying journalism at the University of Leeds and will be the only person from England flying out to Cape Canaveral to take part in the 'tweetup'.

He was drawn out of a ballot from around 4,000 people and will now use various internet methods such as Twitter, Audio Boo and Facebook to share his privileged view of the launch with the world.

The former presenter of BBC Introducing on Radio Norfolk flies out to the USA on Easter Monday and admits he can hardly wait, saying: 'It's really exciting. I had applied to tweet the November launch of Space Shuttle Discovery and made it on to the waiting list, so I was close but no cigar.

'Then when it came round to applications for the Endeavour mission I thought, I've got nothing to lose so I'll enter again, and then I was in complete shock when I was chosen from the ballot.'

The launch will be the penultimate outing for Space Shuttle Endeavour before it is taken out of service.

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The two-week mission will see astronauts deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS) to the International Space Station, which will study the origins of the universe through cosmic rays.

And Mr Dearlove, originally from Sprowston, will have one of the best views in the world of the famous ignition flames pouring from the space craft.

He added: 'I've always been a bit of a space geek. We get a massive behind-the-scenes tour at Kennedy and the previous tweetup group in February got to see the vehicle assembly area.

'There are a lot of engineers looking after the shuttle who we get to talk to and I think we get pretty close to the launch pad as well.

'We then go away and come back on the Friday, the day of the Royal Wedding, and get to watch it all from the press area about three-and-a-half miles away from the launch pad, about half the distance from the public view.'

Follow Jack Dearlove on Twitter @jackdearlove or read his blog at www.dearloveonspace.wordpress.com

Are you starting an exciting internet scheme? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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