Monday, November 27, 2006

Images from the world's first high definition television (HDTV) broadcast from space flashed across the screen yesterday in Times Square. On Nov. 15, 2006, NASA made history with the first live HDTV broadcasts from space, in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Discovery HD Theater and Japanese broadcast network NHK.

The two HDTV broadcasts featured Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria on the International Space Station, with Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter serving as camera operator aboard the 220-mile-high laboratory.

"HDTV provides up to six times the resolution of regular analog video," said Rodney Grubbs, NASA principal investigator. "On previous missions, we've flown HDTV cameras but had to wait until after the mission to retrieve the tapes, watch the video and share it with the science and engineering community, the media and the public. For the first time ever, this test lets us stream live HDTV from space so the public can experience what its like to be there."

Known as the Space Video Gateway, the system transmits high bandwidth digital television signals to the ground that are not only spectacular, but also valuable to scientists, engineers and managers.

NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, along with both NHK and Discovery, are cooperating in this effort though a Space Act Agreement originally signed in 2002.

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