Kennedy Space Center Captures Launch Video With Help From IPV MAM System

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has deployed a Media Asset Management (MAM) system from IPV, based in Cambridge UK, as part of its platform for capture of launch video. Called Curator Content Factory MAM, the system has been integrated with a Quantum StorNext 5 storage and Telestream Vantage content transcoding system.

IPV collaborated with North American channel partner, StorExcel, which worked as a key advisor to the project on content and workflow integration issues. IPV described the Kennedy Space Centre as one of the most challenging imaging environments it has worked in, being by definition mission critical, as well as involving coordination of views from 80 to 100 cameras during lift-off to capture the event from as many angles as possible. The system has to keep track of the rocket and its payload until it passes out of range at a height of about 8,000 feet (2,500 meters). The total system generates around 200 TB data at launch, including images and video taken by high-resolution cameras at speeds of up 1000 frames per second. This footage must be made available to scientists and flight specialists in several different NASA centers as quickly as possible.

The still images and video files collected within NASA serve multiple purposes and need to be available to various audiences in different formats and resolutions. Scientists use them to assess effectiveness of equipment, systems, and procedures. The security team uses them as part of its surveillance procedures. Then the public affairs department uses them to communicate the agency’s mission to its internal audience and to provide images to the general public.

Furthermore the number of organizations using Kennedy Space Center for launches is increasing all the time, including Boeing, SpaceX, and the European Space Agency (ESA), which manages the International Space Station (ISS). “The video footage we collect is an irreplaceable asset that must be protected and retained, as well as being made available to a wide range of different users at different locations, which makes the management task particularly challenging,” said Jeff Wolfe, Communications System Analyst at Abacus Technology.

When NASA wrote the requirements for a 21st-century workflow solution, it had several key considerations. The system needed to provide high performance to allow all the data to be downloaded from cameras within 24 hours of a launch. It needed to be able to scale to support future missions and higher resolution formats. It also had to store and retain multiple copies of files for protection and future use, and to give all users access to content as an automated part of the workflow. The system had to be compatible with media asset management and the workflow solutions used by other offices, including Apple Xsan.

Within the new NASA workflow the primary disk copy from the Quantum StorNext system is accessed by users directly while the files are active. As content ages and becomes inactive, it is removed from the disk, but a copy remains available in the archive for users to access. Files and metadata for them are visible through the IPV Curator MAM for all content, whether they are located on disk or in the archive. For long-term retention, the second tape copy is removed from the library and stored in a secure, off-line location.

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