Like reality shows, but tired of commercials? Now you can use the Internet to see how astronauts live and work each day aboard the International Space Station, complete with calls to Mission Control and no pesky ads.
NASA has begun streaming video online from cameras inside the $100 billion space station, which is currently home to five astronauts, and is flying 220 miles above Earth at 17,500 miles per hour.
This webcam allows Internet denizens to view the interior of the International Space Station's multiple laboratories. The new in-cabin streaming video includes audio of communications between Mission Control and the astronauts, when available. When a space shuttle is docked at the station, the stream will include video and audio of those activities.
There's no Jon Gosselin (nor Kate), probably no major domestic disputes and little that would prompt an TV-MA rating, but NASA promises the live stream will be available during all crew duty hours.
"They vary depending on what is going on aboard the station," NASA spokesperson Kelly Humphries told Space.com. "In general, crew duty hours are 1 a.m. Eastern to 4 p.m. Eastern. That changes to accommodate comings and goings of visiting spacecraft."
Station astronauts typically align their workday to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) since the station is the product of 16 different countries around the world.
Unlike terrestrial webcams, video from the station is only available when the complex is in contact with the ground through its high-speed communications antenna and NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. During periods when communications are not possible, Internet viewers may see a test pattern.
The video cameras used for the new online streaming project are regularly used by astronauts and NASA's Mission Control in Houston for communication and observation. NASA has also provided continuous webcasts of the Earth and space from cameras mounted to the space station's exterior, and offers Internet users a chance to track the space station using computers or see views of the Earth the outpost is flying over.
The space station is currently home to two American astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts and one Japanese astronaut. Last month, the astronauts began using new software that allowed them to surf the Internet from space for the first time.
The station astronauts are preparing for the arrival of NASA's space shuttle Endeavour, which is due to launch early Sunday to deliver a new room and observation portal to the orbiting laboratory. Six astronauts will launch aboard Endeavour and join the station's crew during the planned 13-day construction mission, which will also be broadcast online.