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PlayStation Home Broadcasting Shuttle Launch Live Today

DiscoveryI love space shuttle launches.  I grew up in the tiny town of Titusville from where NASA launches the orbiters, so I watched all of the launches from my front yard back in the day.  They're an amazing sight.  If you've never seen one, then you're missing something special.  Unfortunately, most people do not live within viewing distance of the Kennedy Space Center, so watching a shuttle launch isn't as easy as taking a step outside at the appropriate time.  If you have access to PlayStation Home, however, today you can watch the final launch of Discovery live on the service.  NASA and Sony are teaming up to stream footage of the launch provided that you buy the Sunset Yacht premium personal space.  NASA has the news.

NASA's final liftoff of space shuttle Discovery will be available in a unique "social viewing" environment available through Sony Computer Entertainment America's PlayStation(R)Home for PlayStation(R)3 computer entertainment system.

Discovery's launch on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 4:50 p.m. EST is the first live streaming event to be offered by Sunset Yacht, a premium personal space from LOOT, Sony DADC's interactive entertainment development team. Users will be able to chat via Bluetooth headsets with others watching the launch - all from inside the PlayStation Home social gaming environment.

"We're excited about this new way for people to experience the exhilaration of human spaceflight as part of a larger community," said David Weaver, NASA associate administrator for the Office of Communications. "In addition to the other two shuttle launches planned for April and June, NASA looks forward to sharing more of our endeavors with PlayStation users."

I think it's great that this event is being made available to Home users.  There is really nothing like a space shuttle launch, and the more people that can experience one, the better.  This isn't the same as being there in person, but it may be the next best thing.  The downside is that the stream is only available for those who buy a specific personal space.  You'd think that they'd run the video of the launch in the Home movie theater or some other public space (not profitable, of course, but much more accessible).  If paying $5 to watch in Home is not for you, then you can call up NASA's own live feed on the web for free.  As for me, I'll step outside like I always do at launch time.  I don't live in Titusville anymore and the ground doesn't shake at my current home like it did at the old house, but I can still see the trail of light in the sky as the shuttle ascends.  A live stream will never replace that.