Not only referring to the passing of the month of August, but to a passing that coincides with the end of August.
NASA-TV is a network which I have on as “background noise” a lot of the time and on which I watch certain shows regularly. One such show, which has been on for years and years, was “Space Station Live.” Originally an hour-long show airing Monday through Friday (for the most part) at 11:00 ET and 08:00 PT, it would get repeated two or three times during each day. About two years ago it was cut to a half hour show. (In retrospect, this should have been a sign, I guess.)
“Space Station Live” would have little features about experiments being carried out on ISS, notices about upcoming “dynamic events” such as launches, landings, EVAs, news conferences, and so on. It also would often just have five or ten minutes at a time of just watching the Earth go by underneath the ISS or watching the crew work inside. Each show would be hosted by one of a crew of NASA public information officers, including Rob Navias, Nicole Cloutier, Josh Byerly, Brandi Dean, and Amiko Kauderer.
“Space Station Live” wasn’t always gripping, action packed, or awe inspiring, but it was dependable. It was a fixture, at least in my life. Maybe that’s because it came on at just the right time for me to have it on while I was getting ready for work in the morning. Look at the morning news any day and see if watching people working in space isn’t less stressful and annoying.
A few weeks ago it was announced that “Space Station Live” would be phased out in August and end at the beginning of September. Its last episode was this morning.
I haven’t heard it said outright, but a part of the justification seems to be that work on the ISS has gotten, dare we say it, a tiny little bit routine. I know that the men and women who are flying to space and all of those who support them on the ground know exactly how dangerous an endeavor space travel can be. Saying that the daily activities of life and work on ISS is “routine” doesn’t downplay the hazards. But the fact is that there are lots of professions and activities that are hazardous and can turn disastrous in a heartbeat yet are done routinely. Mining. Oil rig workers. Police and firemen. Loggers. The list goes on and on.
Note that NASA-TV is NOT turning off its cameras or shutting down. There are still weekly summary shows of activities on ISS (“Earth To Ground”) as well as dozens of other educational and documentary shows. NASA-TV will continue to provide live coverage of those aforementioned “dynamic events” as well as news conferences, educational and media events from ISS, NASA Socials (yeah!!) and so on. Just no more “Space Station Live.”
Contrary to all of the bullshit and nonsense you’ll see from the conspiracy nuts and whackadoodles out there, this isn’t being done to cover up a steady stream of UFOs that they claim to see on video from the ISS. In addition to all of the ongoing coverage from the ISS, there are live feeds from ISS on Ustream and YouTube which are available 24/7 when the ISS is in range of one of their communications satellites. I may have to set up a spare computer or something to stream that feed into the television for my new default background eye candy.
So, farewell to “Space Station Live,” a show that kept me company a great many hours. Congratulations and thank you to Brandi, Josh, Amiko, Rob, Nicole, and all of the other hostesses and hosts. I hope I’ll be seeing you all soon in other programming events.
Finally, if any of you are reading this early enough, tonight there’s one of those dynamic events which will be carried live for several hours. Starting at 06:30 ET and 03:30 PT two American astronauts, Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins, go outside the ISS to make some repairs and install new high definition television cameras. If you don’t get NASA-TV on your cable or satellite system, you can watch it on your computer.
I’ll be keeping an eye on it while I’m getting ready for work tomorrow morning.