Watch the final launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on your iPhone, iPad or Android
As of Wednesday night it was all systems go for the final launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. If the countdown clock keeps ticking they'll light the big candle at 4:50 PM for Discovery's final rise into the heavens and into retirement after 39 missions since 1984. If things go to plan we should see two more launches, one each by Endeavor and Atlantis this year, bringing this chapter of the U.S. space program to a close.
In Tampa Bay we have been fortunate to see many launches when the weather has cooperated. A 4:50 PM launch falls during the rush hour, so if you're away from a computer or TV you might want to be prepared to watch it another way. Luckily there are some apps for the iPhone and Android for that.
For the iPhone and iPod Touch and the iPad there is the NASA app. This app is the definitive source for NASA news and it's packed with great features and news. It features current mission information, thousands of images, launch information and countdown clocks, an International Space Station map and live tracker, live streaming video from NASA TV, on demand videos from the NASA libraries, Facebook integration and an integrated Twitter client for sharing and access to live feeds. This is a gorgeous app and on the iPad it's in HD. And the best part? It's free.
On the Android side of things the Galaxy Wire Space News app is one of the best aggregators of NASA content. It includes top NASA and ESA space news, daily space history information, an International Space Station event calendar, a dedicated Space Shuttle news channel and more. The app description said it also included a beta video feature, but I couldn't find this as an integrated feature in the app. Since Galaxy Wire is an aggregator of news from many sources, it's likely the app plays video from those sources when available. Galaxy Wire is free too.
Going back to the iPhone and iPod, the Livestream Viewer app is another great choice if all you want to do is watch the live broadcast of the launch. Livestream is promoting a broadcast by Spaceflight Now hosted by Miles O'Brien and you can RSVP to get a notification when the video stream is running. When looking for it on your iPhone, the channel name is spaceflightnow (without a space). Livestream doesn't have an app for the iPad, although the iPhone app will work. A better choice would be to use your iPad browser to go to the Spaceflight Now channel on Livestream to watch the launch.