Bob Jacobs/Doc Mirelson
Aug. 17, 2005
Space Shuttle Internet Interest Reaches New Heights
Interest in NASA's flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery and STS-114 may have generated one of the largest live Web events in the history of the Internet. Tracking records for www.nasa.gov show more than 2.6 million visitors tuned into coverage at some point during the highly successful two-week mission.
Internet users simultaneously watched approximately 435,000 webcast streams of NASA Television during the launch and nearly 400,000 during the Shuttle's landing on August 9.
"The number of people coming to our Web site during this important flight shows incredible curiosity and interest," said Dean Acosta, deputy associate administrator for Public Affairs at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "If there's a 'Top 10' list of live Internet events, I believe NASA can claim three of the top spots. We're so excited that the world wants to be a part of our ongoing mission of exploration and discovery."
NASA's webcasts nearly quadrupled an agency record set in July during Deep Impact's encounter with Comet Tempel 1. During that mission, NASA sent out 118,000 webcast streams on July 4. In January 2004, the agency transmitted just under 50,000 streams for the Mars Exploration Rover landings.
Public interest wasn’t just limited to streamed media events, During the launch NASA Portal Web traffic reached a new NASA Portal record of 200,000 pages per minute, with landing-related traffic close behind at 150,000 pages per minute. To put this into perspective, the new peak represents an equivalent rate of 9 billion page views per month.
"The mission provided us with both a challenge and an opportunity to provide a service at an unprecedented level for NASA," said Pat Dunnington, NASA's chief information officer. "We're encouraged by the growing interest in the agency's Internet presence and are constantly applying information technologies in ways that enable distribution of NASA’s mission knowledge and exploration excitement to the widest possible audience."
For Discovery's launch, NASA's Return to Flight Web delivery sponsors, Yahoo! and Akamai, were sending data at a rate of more than 45 gigabits per second. During the entire Space Shuttle Discovery mission, 600 terabytes of information that would fill 120,000 DVDs, was delivered to the public.
"Akamai is pleased to have played a role in this exciting and historical event, and we wish to congratulate NASA for a job well done, so that viewers all across the globe were able to see it live on the Internet," said Keith E. Johnson, vice president of public sector, Akamai. "The growing consumption of news on the Internet like the Return to Flight Shuttle mission is just further proof that online activities are becoming part of the fabric of our daily lives."
The Space Shuttle Discovery returned home on August 9, 2005, after a 14-day, 5.8 million-mile journey.
The NASA Web portal is managed jointly by the Office of Public Affairs and the Chief Information Officer. eTouch Systems of Fremont, Calif., is the portal's prime contractor. The portal is hosted by VeriCenter of Houston.
For more information about the STS-114 mission on the Internet, visit:
For more information about Yahoo! visit:
For more information about Akamai, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:
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