How Do Astronauts Watch Live Videos From Space?


Quick Answer

NASA beams live and recorded video content into low-earth orbit, allowing astronauts to watch live video in outer space. A special broadband connection carries the video into space on an as-requested basis. Astronauts watch television and other content when they are not working.

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Full Answer

Although astronauts have the ability to watch live video upon request in space, they do not have access to a wide variety of content whenever they want it like people on Earth do. They need to contact the mission control center and request things ahead of time. For example, it some astronauts want to watch a live televised sporting event, they need to let Mission Control know well before the event airs. Then technicians send the content over NASA's Ku band network at the appropriate time.

NASA’s Johnson Space Center retrieves content from its own network and cable television system for uplink to the space station, making any television content available at the Space Center also available upon request to the astronauts stationed in space. On the other hand, astronauts are frequently busy, and do not have a lot of time to watch TV, and for 10 minutes out of every 90 minutes, they do not have access to the mission control link. This means that there is some live television that they might not be able to see even if they previously requested it.

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