Space Shuttle Atlantis (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A one-stop shop for out-of-this-world multimedia

NASA employees and the public can now tap into the space agency's vast collection of media files with the searchable NASA Image and Video Library, which holds over 160,000 images, videos and audio files collected during 50 years of space exploration.

Employees from NASA's 10 centers used to upload media to individual sites, which made it difficult to locate all the images of shuttle launches or jet propulsion work.

Furthermore, “the centers were all uploading their media files a bit differently, so it was hard to move images from one site to another because they wouldn’t be compatible or it would be difficult to find them,” said Rodney Grubbs, NASA’s imagery experts program manager.

The website, which launched in March, also standardizes NASA’s media policies. “By standardizing our naming and metadata, it helps the centers find each other’s content and gives structure,” Grubbs said.

NASA began working on the library three years ago after InfoZen won the Web Enterprise Service Technology contract to move the agency’s web applications into the cloud. The library is hosted in Amazon Web Services’ cloud and uses Limelight Network’s content delivery network services to support a wide variety of media formats.

Users can choose to download files at a range of resolutions and also have access to captioning files for videos. In the first four months after the site went live, close to 1 million users accessed the library.

NASA is developing new features, including an advanced search option and image galleries related to specific events and topics.

NASA’s centers are focusing on adding the most popular images to the site. For instance, before the solar eclipse in August, the centers were asked to add images and footage of eclipses in the 1970s. Officials are also gathering imagery from the Apollo 11 moon landing ahead of the 50th anniversary in 2019.

“By having one place to put all of our imagery, the library will eventually render all of the other galleries on center websites moot because there will be duplication,” Grubbs said. “Once we get subject-specific galleries added to the library, the other NASA sites with images would probably go away because they will be fully redundant.”

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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