NASA inks deal with Yahoo! & Akamai to bring Shuttle Mission online

MUMBAI: NASA has signed innovative agreements with Yahoo! Inc. and Akamai Technologies, Inc. to help bring the Space Shuttle's return to flight mission (STS-114) to millions of Internet users through the NASA web portal.



Yahoo! Inc. will provide live streaming of NASA TV mission coverage in Windows Media format and be the only other official online host of NASA TV footage beyond the NASA website. Akamai will stream NASA TV for RealPlayer and deliver all other Web content during the mission.



"We're very excited to be able to offer this expanded coverage to the public. Internet users will be able to follow every event from launch through landing, including the spacewalks. Thanks to this agreement, they'll be able to do so at no additional cost to the taxpayers," said NASA associate administrator for space operations, William Readdy.



With a 12-day mission that includes three spacewalks, NASA expects to deliver more data to users than it has for anything but the Mars Exploration Rovers, which are still going strong after 18 months on the mysterious red planet.

Akamai's agreement with NASA builds on its existing role as the content- delivery provider for the Web portal. Akamai has agreed to expand the portal's available bandwidth by more than 30 times.

"We are pleased to play a role in NASA's awe-inspiring Shuttle mission return to space by bringing the event through the Internet to enthusiasts around the world. This is another significant milestone for the Internet, and for organisations that take advantage of a globally distributed, on-demand computing platform that delivers web content to users around the world," said Akamai vice president of public sector Keith E. Johnson.

NASA's agreement with Yahoo! is one of the agency's first online media partnerships. Video for both Yahoo! and NASA sites will be streamed through Yahoo!'s servers and the company has secured more than 50 gigabits per second of available bandwidth for the event. Additionally, the video of the Shuttle mission will be promoted throughout Yahoo!'s network, including the Yahoo! front page.

"The Space Shuttle's Return to Flight is an important event, worthy of putting the strength of the Yahoo! network and technology infrastructure behind it. Making this event available at no cost to Yahoo!'s audience of nearly 400 million users will bring the Shuttle mission to millions of additional consumers," said Yahoo! vice president content operations Scott Moore.

The STS-114 mission is NASA's second major online event for July. It follows the highly successful coverage of the Deep Impact comet interception mission. More than 118,000 people watched the webcast of NASA TV mission coverage, and the portal served up 80 million web pages. Peak traffic may go as high as nearly three times NASA's previous best during Deep Impact and 150 times normal operations.

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