NASA Airs ‘Reality Show’ From Space

Shuttle Atlantis Closing In On Space Station
The current configuration of the International Space Station as of Sept. 2009 at the end of NASA's STS-128 mission to deliver supplies and new gear. (Image credit: NASA)

Likereality shows, but tired of commercials? Now you can use the Internet to seehow astronauts live and work each day aboard the International Space Station,complete with calls to Mission Control and no pesky ads.

NASAhas begun streaming video online from cameras inside the $100 billion spacestation, which is currently home to five astronauts, and is flying 220 milesabove Earth at 17,500 miles per hour.

Thiswebcam allows Internet denizens to view the interior of the International SpaceStation's multiple laboratories. The new in-cabin streaming video includesaudio of communications between Mission Control and the astronauts, whenavailable. When a space shuttle is docked at the station, the stream willinclude video and audio of those activities.

There?sno Jon Gosselin (nor Kate), probably no major domestic disputes and little thatwould prompt an TV-MA rating, but NASA promises the live stream will beavailable during all crew duty hours.

"Theyvary depending on what is going on aboard the station,? NASA spokesperson KellyHumphries told ?In general, crew duty hours are 1 a.m.Eastern to 4 p.m. Eastern. That changes to accommodate comings and goings ofvisiting spacecraft.?

Stationastronauts typically align their workday to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) since thestation is the product of 16 different countries around the world.

Unlike terrestrial webcams, video from the station is only available when thecomplex is in contact with the ground through its high-speed communicationsantenna and NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. During periodswhen communications are not possible, Internet viewers may see a test pattern.

Thevideo cameras used for the new online streaming project are regularly used byastronauts and NASA?s Mission Control in Houston for communication andobservation. NASA has also provided continuous webcasts of the Earth and spacefrom cameras mounted to the space station?s exterior, and offers Internet usersa chance to track the space station using computers or see views of the Earththe outpost is flying over.

Thespace station is currently home to two American astronauts, two Russiancosmonauts and one Japanese astronaut. Last month, the astronauts began usingnew software that allowed them to surf the Internetfrom space for the first time.

Thestation astronauts are preparing for the arrival of NASA?s spaceshuttle Endeavour, which is due to launch early Sunday to deliver a newroom and observation portal to the orbiting laboratory. Six astronauts willlaunch aboard Endeavour and join the station?s crew during the planned 13-dayconstruction mission, which will also be broadcast online. 

Toview the streaming space station video, visit:

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Tom Chao
Tom Chao has contributed to as a producer and writer since 2000. As a writer and editor, he has worked for the Voyager Company, Time Inc. New Media, HarperCollins and Worth Publishers. He has a bachelor’s degree in Cinema Production from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Tom on Google+.