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Over the last 60 years NASA has been a pioneer in technological advancements in science and technology. Today in the 21st century, NASA continues their exploration through the application of advanced media – including 4K. Streaming real-time video that captures images four times the resolution of current HD technology, enhances their ability to observe, uncover and adapt new knowledge of orbital and deep space.

Today, April 26 at 10:30 AM PST NASA delivered the first live 4K stream from space to an NAB panel in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The live feed from 250 miles above Earth will be encoded with AWS Elemental encoding software on board the International Space Station (ISS), transmitted to Johnson Space Center, backhauled to Encompass Digital Media over a global fiber network, uplinked to a U.S. domestic satellite and then decoded back to 4K video and audio in Las Vegas.

While the art of broadcast transmission and connectivity is not a new concept, what is new and exciting is the fact that this is the first time a 4K video signal has originated on a titanium vessel hurtling through outer space at a mind-numbing speed of 17,150 mph and transmitted live to a fixed point on Earth. That’s pretty impressive.

What makes this 4K broadcast different?

While transmitting a live 4K signal from space is not an every-day-at-the-office kind of event, as with other high-profile events the transmission must be flawless and appear effortless because the reality is you only get one shot at getting it right.

Over the years NASA has entrusted Encompass Digital Media to deliver the NASA HD channels and web stream with rock-solid reliability and quality. NASA has, once again, entrusted us to help deliver this first-of-its-kind event not only to the NAB floor in Las Vegas but also to the NASA channel as well.

That’s quite a coordination effort and the team at Encompass is eager to meet the challenge.

The challenges of a live broadcast

Live events are as precious as diamonds. There is no room for error. No chance to rewind. A lot of money is on the line. System failures, equipment malfunctions, interruptions from natural disasters must all be accounted for and planned against. Content providers looking for a way to broadcast any live events should look carefully at the infrastructure and industry expertise of their digital media partner. If there is a tornado in Kansas, will the signal cut or will it switch to Atlanta without anyone knowing? Your digital media provider should really make this look simple (when it actually isn’t).

That’s why NASA is relying on Encompass’ state-of-the-art global broadcast and media infrastructure to capture the live feed from NASA across our global fiber network, encode, modulate and uplink to a domestic satellite in North America where it will be downlinked and routed to the NAB show floor for a live interview. At the same time Encompass will be receiving that live feed and placing it on NASA HD channels and the internet for the public to view. All of this happening in real time so all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the show from SPACE!.

How does a managed service provider help?

There are several benefits to using a single provider for digital media needs.

  • Scale: Encompass’ vast infrastructure is capable of capturing, processing and delivering high-value content to from anywhere (including space) and delivering it to anywhere all under one managed service model. We take care of all of the connections, end-to-end, so you can focus on what you do best which is create great content.
  • Reliability: As stated earlier you only get one shot at a live event. All systems and support staff must be operating at the highest levels of quality. Encompass is capable of offering 5 9’s reliability for clients who need it most.
  • Resilience: With 10 facilities and 148 antennas spread across 6 continents, a global fiber interconnect connecting all of our clients, and secure IP transport, Encompass can ensure your event is protected across multiple distribution paths. Our geo-diverse redundant facilities are built with ballistic systems to account for any situation from tornados, hurricanes or the occasional zombie apocalypse.

Don’t forget to tune in at 10:30 a.m. PST or 1:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday, April 26th as NASA goes live from the International Space Station. You can view it at, on NASA’s Facebook page or in person at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.