Twitter tweet sent from space

NASA astronaut twitters from shuttle Atlantis

Twitter has hit a new milestone.

A NASA astronaut sent the first Twitter message from space, with a post going up on the micro-blogging site at about 4.30 pm on Tuesday US East Coast time (8.30am Wednesday NZ time). The tweet came in the space shuttle Atlantis' first full day in space on a mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

"From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!" wrote astronaut Mike Massimino, who has been Twittering about his mission training for the past month.

NASA's Atlantis craft blasted off on Monday afternoon and reached orbit within nine minutes. With the fiery liftoff, the seven-astronaut crew began its 11-day mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble telescope, which is orbiting about 350 miles above Earth. The shuttle mission — the last one going to the Hubble — is expected to give the orbiter at least another five years of life, according to the space agency.

The shuttle is scheduled to rendezvous with Hubble on Wednesday, when Massimino will use the shuttle's robotic arm to reach out and grab the orbiter and pull it into the shuttle's payload bay. On Thursday, two astronauts will make the first of the mission's five spacewalks.

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