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Peggy Whitson on ISS
The International Space Station’s commander, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, will chat with AWS Elemental’s CEO during the first space-to-Earth live stream to make use of ultra-high-definition video. (NASA Photo)

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson stars in the highest-resolution video ever broadcast live from the International Space Station, bur Amazon Web Services will play a supporting role.

The 4K ultra-high-definition live stream, set to start at 10:30 a.m. PT (1:30 p.m. ET) on April 26, makes use of a UHD-capable video encoder from AWS Elemental that was sent up to the space station just last December aboard a Japanese cargo craft.

The video link also takes advantage of a UHD-ready RED Epic Dragon digital camera aboard the station. NASA has sent down 4K UHD footage before, but not as a live stream.

Whitson’s big video moment will come during the 2017 National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, and she’ll be chatting with Sam Blackman, CEO and co-founder of AWS Elemental.

Blackman’s conversation with Whitson, the world’s most experienced woman astronaut, takes place in the midst of an NAB panel called “Reaching for the Stars: Connecting to the Future With NASA and Hollywood.” NASA says the panel will explore how advanced imaging and cloud technologies are taking scientific research and filmmaking to the next level.

AWS Elemental’s vice president of engineering, Khawaja Shams, is one of the panelists. He’ll be joined by NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson; Rodney Grubbs, program manager for NASA Imagery Experts; Bau Entertainment’s Bernadette McDaid; and Dave McQueeney, senior principal investigator for the IBM Watson Group. The Hollywood Reporter’s technology editor, Carolyn Giardina, is moderator.

To get the full effect of ultra-high-definition video, you’ll need a device capable of delivering 4K UHD content (3840 x 2160 pixels). But lower-resolution streams will be available via NASA Television and NASA’s Facebook page.

Correction: An earlier version of this report provided an incorrect date for the scheduled broadcast.

Cloud technology will be front and center at the first-ever GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit, set for June 7 at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center. Early-bird tickets are available through May 12.

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