The grounding of NASA's Space Shuttle fleet following the Columbia accident in 2003 was briefly lifted allowing the successful launch of Shuttle Discovery. Hundreds of modifications were made to both the Shuttle and mission procedures in the last two years to enhance the safety of future missions.

The crew of seven astronauts, including Australian Andy Thomas, were kept occupied with a demanding schedule, including testing new safety techniques and delivering much needed supplies to the International Space Station. Originally Discovery's launch had been targeted for July 13 but was delayed due to a faulty fuel sensor. The rescheduled launch 10 days later saw the Shuttle return to flight.

Free-to-air satellite television offers a detailed insight into spaceflight activities including the shuttle missions via NASA Television. NASA TV is an educational media outlet that provides NASA related programing 24 hours per day. During Space Shuttle missions, NASA TV is compelling viewing. For the weeks before the launch the channel broadcasts daily updates, briefings and press conferences of pre-launch activities. However the real action begins the day of the Shuttle blast-off.

Around six hours before the launch the continuous mission coverage commences which extends right through until the mission ends some hours after the Shuttle landing. Viewers are treated to spectacular live video and audio of the controllers and astronauts which when combined with the downloadable resources at offers a front row seat to all stages of the space flight.

A schedule of major events in the mission timeline is available from the NASA website. Downloading the mission press-kit will enable you to plan your viewing to ensure you don't miss highlights such as launch, space station docking and landing.

NASA TV is available from Intelsat 701 located in orbit above the international date line at 180 degrees east.

Small Ku band dish users in New Zealand can tune into NASA TV via the TVNZ bouquet on Optus B1.

In addition to the continuous coverage direct from NASA TV the launch and major mission event coverage is also usually carried live on the APTN Direct live event video feed channel on Asiasat 2.


Tuning & Resources
NASA Television is featured in the Satdirectory package on DVD Disk Four.

NASA Television
Satellite : Intelsat 701
Orbit Location : 180.0 East
Frequency : 3854
Polarity : Right Hand Circular
Symbol Rate : 2000
FEC: 3/4

NASA Television
Satellite : Optus B1
(New Zealand Beam Only)
Orbit Location : 160.0 East
Frequency : 12456
Polarity : Vertical
Symbol Rate : 22500
FEC: 3/4

APTN Direct
Satellite : Asiasat 2
Orbit Location : 100.5 East
Frequency : 3706
Polarity : Horizontal
Symbol Rate : 4167
FEC: 5/6
NASA Television
NASA TV now on Optus B1

NASA television can be troublesome to receive from Intelsat 701. Frequent changes in the power of the signal and the need for a feedhorn capable of circular polarisation add to the challenge of receiving the channel on C-Band.

For viewers in New Zealand, NASA TV has recently been added to the "easy to receive" TVNZ digital channels on Optus B1, 12456, Vertical,  Symbol Rate 22500, FEC 3/4.

NASA TV for Australian viewers remains available via Intelsat 701 and via the APTN Direct channel on Asiasat 2.
NASA TV - Join the Space Shuttle crew return to space