AWS Elemental Blog

Video Processing Perspectives

Three Workflows that Delivered the First Live 4K Video from Space

Three Workflows that Delivered the First Live 4K Video from Space

Last week, we shared the news of NASA’s plan to deliver the first-ever live 4K video from space and discussed some of the challenges that NASA, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and AWS Elemental addressed in achieving this historic milestone. Today, at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time (US), that milestone was surpassed today as part of “Reaching for the Stars: Connecting to the Future with NASA and Hollywood,” an NAB Show Super Session at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).

To bring the first live 4K signal from the International Space Station (ISS) to viewers here on Earth, we designed three primary workflows based on AWS Elemental software and AWS solutions. Aboard the ISS, a 4K camera and AWS Elemental Live encoder provided the HEVC 4K video stream and sent it in a UDP transport protocol via the ISS network into Johnson Space Center (JSC).

View Workflow Watch Video

From JSC, the 4K video was decoded and routed along with a separate audio feed to an AWS Elemental Live system on-premises, which encoded and sent the signal via the NASA network to an uplink facility for delivery via satellite to a downlink truck on site at the LVCC, where the signal was brought into Room N249 for production and live viewing on 4K projectors.

Finally, to bring the live 4K event feed to the viewing public on multiscreen devices, AWS Elemental Live systems sited at LVCC furnished redundant encoded adaptive bitrate HLS streams to two separate AWS Elemental Delta cloud instances for origin services. These origins delivered IP HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) outputs through Elastic Load Balancers to the Amazon CloudFront content delivery network (CDN). Amazon Route 53 provided Domain Name Services, redundancy and routing policies to better manage the flow of traffic and failover to reach regional AWS Elemental Delta instances. Amazon Cloudfront and Amazon CloudFront Regional Edge Caches provide the global CDN for delivery to multiscreen and connected devices everywhere, with network monitoring performed by Amazon CloudWatch.

For the complete story of how NASA, AWS and AWS Elemental brought this video first to life, please download our application brief. To view an on-demand video of the live event and NAB Show panel, visit