Have you watched NASA TV? The overwhelming response is “What is NASA TV? Is that a thing?” Ever watched a documentary about the Apollo missions or the atmosphere of other planets? Chances are the footage came from NASA TV. Officially, it is the television service of the National Aeronautics and Space administration of the US government. Viewers can watch live feeds or programs via the internet or broadcast television. Many turn to YouTube, where viewers can choose from the Hubble Space Telescope Channel or Jet Propulsion Laboratory Channel.
The NASA television system has three distinct channels for public, educational, and media broadcasts. NASA Public is the most popular channel (broadcast by the most cable and satellite television providers), showing mission coverage, documentaries, live events, and other special programs. NASA Education features series for museums and schools. News conferences and video are viewed via NASA Media.
In the 1980s, NASA developed the capability to watch missions live. The live mission broadcasts served as the beginning of NASA TV. The administration found that the footage was highly sought after by the press and viewers alike. NASA began distributing video to the media, which was ultimately received by the public. In addition to better communicating information about space missions, an increased interest was generated in the space program.
Live events are streamed via the NASA TV page on the nasa.gov website, television broadcasts, and social media. NASA has embraced Facebook Live for event broadcasts and virtual tours. On May 23, NASA steamed multiple events (each with a 15 minute run time) from 10 different locations. Glenn Research Center (located in Cleveland, Ohio) streamed a virtual tour of the Electric Propulsion Lab that tests solar power technologies. The Armstrong Flight Research Center in California provided a look at the Simulator Lab and X-Plane program. NASA also broadcast live footage of the ISS repairs and a brief interview with astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer.
NASA TV: www.nasa.gov/nasatv