A “tweet-up” – which is, for the not-so-social-media-savvy, an online meet-up of people who know each other through the Twitter social network – which involved the United States Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and astronaut Koichi Wakata up on the International Space Station happened on Thursday evening, probably the first such meeting of its kind. Abe and Kennedy communicated to Kawata via video link-up from Japan to the International Space Station orbiting the Earth hundreds of miles up in near space.
The three, all active “tweeters” on the micro-blogging site, talked about Wakata’s daily life aboard the station. Kennedy complimented the astronaut on his Twitter activity, and he returned the favor. “It’s an honor to be able to speak with you,” Kennedy, the only surviving daughter of assassinated US president John F. Kennedy said. “Congratulations Commander Wakata on being the first Japanese commander of the space station and I am glad that we follow each other on Twitter,” Kennedy said. “Ambassador Kennedy, it’s quite an honor that you follow my tweets,” Wakata replied. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abe wanted to know more about the teamwork within the space station. “You are the first Asian to become commander of the ISS,” the Japanese PM said. “Are there days when you think that it is hard work?” Wakata said that the multi-national crew was an effective unit. “I think we really work well as a team,” he said. “But we are more than just crew mates, qualities from all the countries we represent complete each other and we can communicate perfectly,” he added.
This online conversation took place only hours after a Russian cargo ship docked with the ISS, bringing the crew supplies and water. Because of the demise of NASA’s space shuttle program in 2011, the United States has been reliant on Russia for transporting astronauts to the ISS. Earlier this month, though, NASA announced that it was cutting its space cooperation with Russia – except when the ISS is concerned – because of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, especially the takeover of Crimea last month.
[via Yahoo News]