NASA Television: Sometimes You Just Have to Look For It
By: Jim Hodges

Looking for the launch of STS-122 on television? The flight of astronaut Leland Melvin, a NASA Langley Research Center alumnus?

It will be on Channel 238 on your Cox cable digital package. That’s where NASA TV has been since August 2, as part of Cox’s premium package.

If a satellite dish has a good day in York County, the launch also will be on Channel 48, no premium necessary.

Elsewhere, many of those wanting to watch NASA TV in Hampton Roads have to go through some perambulations. Folks in York and Hampton are trying to help the situations, at least for the future.

Cox Communications Logo. Image Right: Cox cables digital premium package offers NASA television on channel 238. Credit: Cox Communications.

Newport News worked at it, but has pretty much given up, at least for now.

“We used to use NASA more,” said Jim Anklam, who oversees the Newport News school system’s Channel 47, which reached out for the NASA signal and broadcast it on its public access channel until about a year ago. “But our dishes are somewhat old, and it started breaking up, so we haven’t been using it.”

York County also has older dish equipment, and when the local government pulls down the signal for its public access Channel 48, “sometimes it freezes,” said Randy Williford, who runs the county’s television operations. “It can freeze for an hour (or more) sometime.”

Recognizing that it has many NASA employees among its citizenry, and that NASA TV has value for its schools, York is mulling alternative means to achieving a clear telecast.

“We’re looking at getting Cox digital here and pulling down the NASA signal from that,” Williford says.

Hampton has Cox, again with NASA on its digital package, and the city is seeking an alternative for wider dissemination.

“We are actively pursuing a way to have broader NASA TV coverage on our existing public access channels,” said John Eagle, an assistant city manager who oversees technology.

That pursuit involves considering many of the myriad ways of getting the NASA TV signal.

Eagle added that he expects the city to have an announcement soon.

On the Southside, premium cable television is the key, save in Suffolk, where a Charter Communications representative said the cable company does not carry NASA TV.

Many people who run the various cities’ public channels are still finding out about NASA TV.

“I just recently learned that it was available,” said Jeff Barnaby, who oversees public-access television in Virginia Beach. “We’re looking at it. We’ve run some old NASA stuff, but the idea of live NASA television is interesting and we’re about to lose some of our programming. This might be the way to fill that programming hole.”

NASA Langley Research Center
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor and Responsible NASA Official: H. Keith Henry
Editor and Curator: Denise Adams