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NASA astronaut sends first direct tweet from space

A wireless connection on the International Space Station allowed NASA Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer to log on to Twitter.

By Matthew Shaer / January 22, 2010

The first live tweet from space, courtesy of T.J. Creamer.

Screen grab from Twitter.com

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One small step for Twitter, one giant leap for mankind.

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Earlier today, NASA Flight Engineer TJ Creamer sent the first live tweet from outer space, urging earth-bound Twitter users to correspond with the NASA team on the International Space Station. "Hello Twitterverse!" Creamer said in the message. "We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station -- the 1st live tweet from Space! :) More soon, send your ?s."

Technically, Creamer isn't the first astronaut to tap into Twitter. Last year, a crew member on the Atlantis shuttle sent messages to NASA Mission Control, which uploaded the short blasts. And in 2008, NASA created a page for the Mars Phoenix Lander. But Creamer is the first to take advantage of a wireless connection on the International Space Station to send a tweet directly from space.

In coming weeks, Creamer will post additional tweets, as will two of his crewmates, ISS Commander Jeff Williams and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

In a statement, NASA explained some of the tech behind the wireless connection:

This personal Web access, called the Crew Support LAN, takes advantage of existing communication links to and from the station and gives astronauts the ability to browse and use the Web. The system will provide astronauts with direct private communications to enhance their quality of life during long-duration missions by helping to ease the isolation associated with life in a closed environment.

So what exactly will the astronauts be doing up there on the Internet? Will they be reading Gawker or TMZ? Playing trivia games? Nope. As NASA notes, "Astronauts will be subject to the same computer use guidelines as government employees on Earth." Ahem. No tomfoolery up there, folks.

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