Astronaut sends first live tweets from space

Thanks to enhanced space station communications, NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer sends live Twitter message Friday rather than e-mailing it to ground operations first.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
Meet TJ Creamer, the 140-character space pioneer. Twitter/TJ Creamer

You really can't escape Twitter. Even in space.

NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, on board the International Space Station, made social-media history Friday morning when he became the first person to send a Twitter message from space. Creamer, under his Twitter username @Astro_TJ, tweeted, "Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station--the 1st live tweet from Space! :) More soon, send your ?s."

The astronauts on the International Space Station have connected to the Web through Crew Support LAN, which significantly enhances the private communication access that astronauts have while floating above the Earth. Creamer, along with his crew mates Jeff Williams and Soichi Noguchi, is using the access to post Twitter updates about their mission.

To be fair, astronauts had tweeted before, but previously they had to e-mail their updates to colleagues on the ground who would then enter them into Twitter. Additionally, messages from unmanned spacecraft have been pushed out onto the microblogging service for some time now. In the summer of 2008, the Mars Phoenix Lander--for a time, one of the most-followed accounts on Twitter--triumphantly announced the discovery of ice on Mars.

The Phoenix turned out to be a pretty enthusiastic tweeter: "Are you ready to celebrate? Well, get ready: We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, *WATER ICE* on Mars! w00t!!! Best day ever!!"