From: Geoffrey Haines-Stiles <>
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 1997 10:19:18 -0400

FYI, Seth and all...

LFM 3B was indeed >scheduled< to be carried by NASA-TV live at time of air,
14-16:00 Eastern, July 9. The first hour was not, but apparently the second
hour was. According to NASA-TV, this was due to local problems at NASA
Goddard. NASA HQ is  concerned about the inconvenience this may have caused
many of you, and intends to reschedule full 2-hour carriage of both LFM 3A
and 3B (e.g. all 4 hours of TV) after completion of this current Shuttle
mission. The coordinates were correctly conveyed to NTV, shared with GSFC,
LFM was in the printed and online schedule, but still -- the program did not
make it to NTV's transponder.

HOWEVER, all informational material for LFM's summer programs, both print,
online and direct mailing to science museums noted that NTV was subject to
pre-emption for Shuttle or Pathfinder emergencies (though this is not what
happened) and provided an alternate transponder on the same satellite, GE-2,
channel 21, purchased by PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE and the American Museum of
Natural History, New York, where carriage was 100% guaranteed, and where the
program was available in its entirety just as planned. 

We chose this satellite to make the change of transponder, if required, as
simple as possible. We hope many of you noted this information, and changed
to GE-2, Ch 21, when you saw we were not on NTV.

We understand, and regret, that this must be a little confusing to those
whose only experience of TV is commercial broadcasting, where all you have
to do is tune to a local channel and "there it is." The upside of direct
satellite transmission is the kind of late-breaking coverage of a news story
like Pathfinder, and the ability of a project like LFM to provide
interaction with newsmakers like Donna Shirley, Matt Golombek, Rob Manning
and the others, as well as companion e-mail and Web resources. The DOWNSIDE
is that viewers have to be more active, and even pro-active. We hope most of
you find the benefits outweigh the occassional problems. We've been working
hard to secure wider PBS carriage as well as NTV, but though we've gotten up
to some 200 of 350 PBS stations for some past and present PTK projects, not
all stations consider live programming viable in their local markets. If you
disagree, contact your local program manager with your comments. FYI, in
Columbus, Ohio, Sunday's program was #1 in its last 1/4 hour rating period
on WBNS, the CBS commercial station which supported the COSI uplink. So
clearly Mars and this kind of interactive formatting can sometimes be both
cutting-edge and widely popular. 

FYI, FYI, both programs also had intermittent "hits", which in TV means
temporary video and audio dropouts (less than 1 second in length.) This was
caused by a combination of severe storms in the New York area and planes
landing at La Guardia and JFK. That's another inevitable problem with direct
satellite up- and downlinks! Sometimes weather on Earth can impact
interplanetary weather reports from Mars.

In any event, we on the production team are pretty tired, but are overall
very pleased with the results of all our efforts. It was a privilege to be
out at JPL for this historic week, and to be able to share some unique
aspects of it with you by live TV and the Net. We're also very pleased that
NASA's Classroom of the Future and our partners at NASA Ames (Quest,
Learning Teachnologies Project) were able to provide the alternate of Real
Audio and Real Video, and/or CU-SeeMe on the net. We hope to do that more
and still better with current and emerging technologies for any and all
future PTK projects, to maximize access. We'd be happy to hear other
"horror" or "success" stories to guide our future plans.

Onwards and Upwards... to Yogi, Couch, Twin Peaks (OK, too far for
Sojourner!), and beyond!!!

Geoff Haines-Stiles & Erna Akuginow and the LFM team  

At 11:22 AM 7/10/97 -0400, wrote:
>Hi all...
>Yesterday, my students and I were tuned in to NASA TV to watch the live
>telecast of Touchdown (Part B) and it wasn't there! The voice of NASA said it
>had been cancelled. (Our local PBS station had already told me that they
>would not air it until fall...argh.)
>Well, I logged onto the Web to see if I could get some info. I went to the
>RealVideo simulcast page (Classroom of the Future) and there it was, in
>Did anyone else find it not on the air? Do any of you know what happened?
Geoff Haines-Stiles
Project Director, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE & the LIVE FROM... specials
"electronic field trips to scientific frontiers"
Real Science, Real Scientists, Real Locations, Real Time
vox: 973.656.9403 * fax: 973.656.9813 * mobile: 908.305.7061
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