It's a good week for those of us who used to take model space shuttles to school: not only is For All Mankind coming back to Apple TV, but the new NASA Plus streaming service has just launched, too.
Unlike the Apple TV Plus fictional show, there won't be any fire-fights on the Moon, but there's plenty to delight space exploration fans. NASA Plus is an ad-free, no cost streaming service (the best kind) that serves up original video series, live coverage and some new series, too.
You can tune into NASA Plus in the NASA app on iOS and Android phones, and also find it on streaming platforms including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and more. Need a quick tour around the new TV space station? Here's everything you need to know.
What is NASA Plus?
NASA Plus is the space service's first on-demand streaming service and it lives inside the freshly-updated NASA app.
NASA says the service is available on "most major platforms" including Android, iOS, Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku and on the web. It also promises that all content will be family friendly and will include Emmy-winning live shows, alongside "a handful of new series" (more on those below).
In short, the focus of NASA Plus is news and educational content, rather than re-runs of Interstellar or The Martian. That means some exclusive interviews, feature stories and more alongside a few exclusive series, which NASA claims puts "space on demand and at your fingertips". You can't say that about Freevee.
How can you watch NASA Plus?
You can watch NASA Plus for free right now via the freshly-updated NASA app on most mobile and TV platforms.
To watch on your smartphone, just download the NASA app for iOS or the NASA app for Android. If you'd rather watch on the big screen, you can also download the NASA app for Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV – or just simply tune in via your web browser on desktop or mobile devices.
In a refreshing change from the recent streaming price hikes, NASA Plus will be free. And it won't be full of ads either; NASA says it'll be ad-free. NASA gets money from Congress so it doesn't need to run ads to cover its costs – its broadcasting is considered public service.
What can you watch on NASA Plus?
As NASA promised, the streaming service features a range of content including updates on current missions, behind-the scenes videos, livestreams of interesting events. But the most interesting are arguably the documentaries and docu-series.
Right now, there are 25 series available to stream on Nasa Plus, though this library will grow over time. These range from family-friendly ones like Elmo visits NASA to multi-part documentaries and originals.
You can get a taste of some of these originals in the trailers for The Traveler, NASA Explorers, and Other Worlds (below). The Traveler is a kid-friendly series that's dramatically billed as "the space agency's greatest adventure yet", but is hosted by friendly martian.
On a similar theme, there are also shows including Lucy, an animated series about a cheery space probe going on epic adventures. Lucy was previously available on the NASA YouTube channel.
On a slightly more serious note, NASA Explorers is a documentary about the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which was the first US mission to collect a sample from an asteroid. It returned to earth on September 24 to drop off its material, which will help us learn more about the origin of the solar system and exactly what asteroids brought to earth billions of years ago.
If astronomy is more your thing, you also might want to tune into Other Worlds, which sees scientists react to new information picked up by the James Webb Space Telescope, which is the world's most powerful observatory. You can watch the firsdt episode right now on Nasa Plus.
Is NASA Plus the same as NASA TV?
No, it's not. NASA TV is a traditional TV channel, but NASA Plus is the agency's first on-demand streaming service. Content from the former will undoubtedly be shown on the latter, but the big benefit here is that you can get NASA Plus on pretty any device, whenever you want to watch it.
The launch of the new service is part of a wider program: NASA is "elevating its digital platforms for the benefit of all" by revamping its flagship websites. "With these changes, everyone will have access to a new world of content from the space agency". And that's definitely a good thing, particularly for space fans.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.
- Mark WilsonSenior news editor