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December 20, 2014

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Astronaut attracts a Twitter following with posts from space station

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NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, crew member of the mission to the International Space Station, ISS, gestures prior the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

Thanks to his unabashed enthusiasm for the job and his way with a tweet, Reid Wiseman is becoming quite the Twitterverse celebrity as he orbits the Earth on the International Space Station.

Almost from the moment he arrived at the station May 29, the 38-year-old Wiseman, of Cockeysville, Md., has been posting photographs and commentary to his Twitter feed (his handle is @astro-reid). Even before his Soyuz flight took off May 28, Wiseman was posting pictures of himself and his crewmates, German astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev.

But the real fun began once he arrived at the station, parts of which have been orbiting the Earth since 1998. Among his first tweets: a photo of the ship that brought him to the station. The caption read, “I can’t stop looking outside!”

A series of photos of the Earth have followed, often accompanied by exclamations about how beautiful and amazing everything looks (“Solar arrays glisten approaching Australia”). There’s even the occasional shot of Wiseman acclimating himself to life in space, often with self-deprecating commentary included. On a picture of him exercising on a treadmill, Wiseman noted, “First run done – heels were tingling, food bouncing in stomach. Yuck!”

Online space fans have been loving it. On May 1, Wiseman had 16,000 Twitter followers. A month later, that number had climbed to 30,800.

“Astronaut Reid Wiseman’s open excitement about being in space is killing me,” Mika McKinnon wrote on the website space.io9.com. “His tweets are full of such open delight, it’s like getting a live feed of fanboyish squealing paired with the always-astounding view from the International Space Station.”

David Wharton, in a post titled “Astronaut Reid Wiseman is your new Twitter must-follow” on the website giantfreakinrobot.com, agreed. He praised Wiseman for “bleeding enthusiasm all over Twitter in a truly endearing way.”

None of this should be a surprise to those who know Wisemam. He never made a secret of his enthusiasm for the space program. “There are moments when the adrenaline just crushes you,” he said last month during an interview from Star City, Russia, where he trained for the May 28 launch aboard a Russian ship. “Holy smokes, I’m getting on that rocket in 2½ weeks, and this time next month I’ll be floating on the space station going 18,000 mph. It’s still a little bit unbelievable.”

Wiseman is scheduled to spend the next six months aboard the space station. The tweeting, no doubt, will continue.

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