Specialists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., have received, assembled and tested the first of a two-phase high-definition television equipment package provided by NASA's multimedia commercial partner, Dreamtime Holdings Inc.
The state-of-the-art equipment will improve the quality of ground television coverage of space launches as well as provide enhanced documentation of Earth-based scientific and research activities.
The camera lenses, tripods and support equipment readied at the Marshall Center are headed to Russia and will be used for television coverage of the historic Expedition One launch currently planned for Oct. 30. Expedition One will fly American Commander Bill Shepard and two Russian cosmonauts to their new home aboard the International Space Station (ISS). They will be the first crew to live and conduct experiments aboard the ISS, and are expected to return to Earth in four months.
Dreamtime will also provide NASA two high-definition television cameras which will document the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery at the Kennedy Space Center on Oct. 5," said Rodney Grubbs, deputy manager for the collaboration partnership and lead for NASA's digital television implementation at the Marshall Center. "Following that launch, technicians from Marshall, Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center will carry the cameras to Russia and prepare for coverage of Expedition One."
NASA's enhanced television coverage of upcoming Shuttle flights is one goal of its unique commercial partnership with Dreamtime. Dreamtime also will provide high-definition television documentation of crew activities aboard the orbiting Space Station and on Space Shuttle missions, as well as research and science activities across the Agency.
"This is a very important step in the NASA and Dreamtime partnership," said Brian Kelly, NASA collaboration manager for the partnership at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. "It puts NASA on the cutting edge of digital technology and is tangible proof of what can happen when NASA and industry work together toward a common goal." Earlier this month Dreamtime delivered to the Johnson Space Center, a high-definition television encoder which will be tested as a prototype for a future high definition systems to be flown in space in late 2001.
The NASA-Dreamtime partnership also calls for Dreamtime to produce educational and documentary programming, as well as create an interactive, multimedia portal site, www.Dreamtime.com, that will provide more complete and in-depth access to information about space and space exploration than is currently available. The multimedia database will combine NASA video, audio, still photographs, high-resolution images, historical documents and three-dimensional views of spacecraft. This space portal will offer public access to thousands of NASA images, sounds, documents, blueprints and plans.
The NASA-Dreamtime collaboration represents a first step in accomplishing the commercialization goals established by Congress in the Commercial Space Act.
Congress asked NASA to conduct an independent market study to help identify potential commercial uses for the U.S. Space Station Program. One of the most promising commercial markets identified by the study was to utilize space imagery in the areas of education and entertainment.
NASA solicited offers for commercial collaboration in December 1999, and Dreamtime was selected from 12 offerers based on criteria published in the announcement
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