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NASA, HDNet Sign 'Launch' Deal

Usually when companies refer to "launches," they're talking about ramping up their new products, but HDNet takes it a bit more literally. The all-HD content channel is teaming up with NASA to ensure access to HD coverage of all of the agency's space shuttle launches through 2010.

According to HDNet chief Mark Cuban, the agreement covers live launch and landing broadcast coverage of the U.S. space agency's 16 remaining shuttle missions, typically from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida (depending on weather conditions). Cuban said in a statement HDNet also plans to air NASA's unmanned rocket launches, when feasible. HDNet is also providing NASA with an NTSC signal of all launches for use by other media not yet equipped to broadcast in HD.

HDNet will provide the facilities to cover the launches in 1080i, which will house at least 12 cameras equipped with telephoto lenses, recording systems, switchers, monitoring, and a fiber optic system required to carry the signals from the launch pad to the broadcast center located several miles away. (HDNet has not yet provided specifics on exactly what HD equipment it plans to use.)