NASA TV: Live in the Palm of your Hand

Over the last few weeks, we’ve set up and begun doing a beta test broadcast of NASA TV onto your Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. We tweeted it out early yesterday to our Twitter followers before the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis once we were sure it was ready to have more of a spotlight shone on it. It’s also been linked on the NASA TV web page in the left column for the last couple of weeks since we set up the stream.

NASA TV on the iPhone
Watch the Stream Now

This specially formatted HTML5, H.264 stream was set up to test out new streaming technologies within the NASA network infrastructure and to demonstrate the technology as practical given the resources available for During the beta period, we’re trying to identify issues and concerns with the reliability and delivery of the stream to you, our users. We’re also trying to gauge the interest of our online audience in having NASA TV available for streaming on the iPhone and other mobile devices.

For now, this is just the first step. If everything goes well during the beta test period, we’ll evaluate our next steps taking into account the availability of our limited resources. For the immediate future, this is an open ended beta test period. We are listening for feedback on the quality, reliability, and availability of the NASA TV stream. We’re also listening for ideas of what you think the next steps should be. Some of the ideas we’ve most often heard are integration of NASA TV into the NASA iPhone App, mobile apps for other devices such as Android and Blackberry, and streaming NASA TV onto other devices. We’ve purchased the hardware that will allow us to do some of these ideas and expect to begin more streaming this summer.

As always, you can e-mail the Web Team at or drop us a line in the comments. We also monitor tweets sent to @NASA. We’ll try to respond as time allows, but know that we read every comment, e-mail, and tweet sent our way.

43 thoughts on “NASA TV: Live in the Palm of your Hand”

  1. This is wonderful! A great way to watch NASA TV on my iPad. However the screen format seems to be scaled incorrectly. The image looks like it’s a widescreen image but stretched to fill vertically. The iPad has the option of full screen and stretch, but it still didn’t fix it. There are black bars on the left and right. And the people just don’t look ‘normal.’ Evn still, Im very glad that this resource is here now!

  2. First off, before I get to my comment, @Joey: This appears to be the same as NASA’s HD video feed, since NASA TV went digital. Sometimes the sidebars are blue or marbled-looking.

    Now to my comment: I hope this is expanded to other NASA TV feeds (media, educational, raw mission feeds), as well as an iPhone/iPod-friendly mission audio feed (which presently isn’t), as I know I’d enjoy them. 🙂

    Interesting that this is the only iPhone/iPod TV streaming I’ve seen that actually does rotate with orientation of the device! 🙂

    I hope other apps from NASA and/or JPL are forthcoming, including apps for the various Mars and deep-space missions (including a decent iPod/iPhone version of the Mars24 clock app).

    d.m.f., on my iPod touch…

  3. I love it! The quality is great, and the stream loads very quickly. I have bookmarked it on my iPhone.

    I think this is a great initiative. Integration into the NASA iPhone app would be very nice, and I would assume probably relatively easy to implement in terms of bandwidth and resources…

  4. I sure hope you will think of Android enabled devices too. I know for sure a lot of tech guys including myself who is not going with on the Apple hype. Its too restrictive, secondly to get a handdevice without Flash support would ruin the current state of many popular websites including Youtube and other medias.

    So please, dont waste too much time on Apple platform alone. Its great that you think of them, but in the broader perspective, Apple is not going to win this one. Google/Android will be the future as the OS is installed into more devices – including tables, phones, TVs, computers etc.

    Thats my point of view.

    But great that you open up for more ways of accessing your lovely streams!

  5. If it is true that the stream can’t be watched over 3G, I hope you will reconsider and revise your compression to make this possible.

    An iPad owner

  6. Hi FL Brien,

    We haven’t had any issues streaming it over 3G. Can you describe your issue in more detail so we can investigate?



  7. Hi,

    Congratulation for this first step in bringing NASA TV to mobile devices.

    Since spring 2010 Android is now the #1 worldwide Phone OS. I hope you’ll release an Android App for NASA TV soon !

    A breaking News App would also be great btw 😉

    Thanks NASA !

  8. My impression is not favorable. The audio is overmodulated and the video resolution appears more pixelated compared to Akamai, which is by far the reference standard for high resolution NASA TV on the iPhone, working with either 3G or WiFi. Too bad Akamai cannot keep their stream going reliably. However your stream cuts out on my phone after 2 seconds. Needs work.

  9. Thanks, NASA, at last NASA live on my iPhone 3GS! Those were happy days.
    But for the last few days, no video! Just the window with the player, telling me that the movie is loading. And then it stops.
    I’m sad again…
    (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)

  10. Albert —

    We’re working on resolving the playback issue. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.


    -Jason Web Team

  11. Hi,

    Great initiative!
    But i can’t get the stream to work on my ipad, is it still up?

  12. Another request for an Android NASA app! Especially for watching NASA TV for launches. Even though the new Android OS 2.2 (aka Froyo) can do Flash video you still can’t watch NASA TV since you only offer Real and Quicktime. Check the major tech blogs for the latest reports out just the past few days, Android is gaining A LOT of market share.

  13. Why is this only available for Apple devices? Android and WebOS devices can play HTML5 video too. It shouldn’t be too hard to add those two user agents.

  14. I am an avid watcher of NASA TV when I have access to the internet and would love to have the ability to watch it on an Android device.

  15. Great to see development on alternate ways to watch NASA TV.

    I have recently purchased a network media player that allows me to play H.264 transport streams directly off the internet to my TV.
    I notice you have to chop the transport streams into 10 second segments for streaming to the iPhone. These play perfectly on my media player, but only for 10 seconds. e.g from:

    Do you plan on making a transport stream available to the public which has not been segmented in this way? This would be brilliant.

  16. I would love to have Android apps for Realtime Data Orbital Tracking, Sighting Opportunities, Skywatch, and Orbital Elements!

  17. NASA TV for Blackberry (mine is an 8330) would fantastic!! An app would be just as fantastic!!
    Thank you!

  18. Hi, Thanks bro, good blog. Thank you for this amazing tidbit!
    Had a useful thread for me! sites in the Milky Way will give the subject met Thanks

  19. Why is NASA favouring (yes I’m English) one commercial entity (Apple) over another (Google)? You’re not alone of course, but there are more Android devices out there.

  20. My iPad will not display the NASA tv. All I get is “press any key to continue” on the movie screen. Once in awhile it does display NASA tv properly. I have searched the web and have not found any reference to this error. Any ideas?

  21. I was sad to see that nasa tv mobile stream is only for apple products, i hope it will change, we don’t want to use dumb apple toy products, we would like to move toward android, wm7 or symbian/maemo. But that’s not a question of platform, just open the stream for everybody. Thank You.

  22. Here it is over a year since the iPhone app for NASA TV and still no app for us Android users. I would really like to know if and when one would be available for Android. Does the people of NASA hate Android or just Google?

  23. There are more people on the planet with android phones. Apple is an Orwellian corperation that tries to control everything. They ARE 1984. Please put out an app for the platform most of the world has……not the overpriced iToys.

  24. This is awesome.. This article is pushing me to buy apple iphone. hmmm… hehe.. great post! I think this is just like on my laptop I’ll try it.

  25. Blackberry app, equivalent to all Apple apps would be much appreciated as well =)
    Thanks NASA!

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