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I would like to display the High Definition Earth-Viewing System (HDEV) Live stream from International Space Station as a desktop background on Ubuntu 15.04

Related questions:

  • 2
    +1 for interesting question! I've often wondered about similar things... – Daniel Oct 12 '15 at 0:59
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Installation

  1. Install vlc :
    sudo apt-get install vlc

  2. Install livestreamer :
    sudo apt-get install livestreamer

  3. Install python-librtmp :
    sudo apt-get install python-librtmp

High Definition Earth Viewing System (720p)

HD stream

This command displays High Definition Earth-Viewing System (HDEV) on wallpaper mode, full screen, with no window decoration and no audio.

livestreamer http://ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload best --player 'vlc -I dummy --video-wallpaper --no-video-title-show --noaudio'

HD stream (720p) with Audio (crew/mission control conversations)

This command displays the HDEV and add sound from another stream, Live ISS, accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control.

livestreamer http://www.ustream.tv/embed/9408562?html5ui best --player "cvlc --no-video" & livestreamer http://ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload best --player 'vlc -I dummy --video-wallpaper --no-video-title-show 

Live ISS Stream (480p)

Display the ISS Live stream (different viewpoint, on air more often)

SD stream

livestreamer http://ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload best --player 'vlc -I dummy --video-wallpaper --no-video-title-show'

SD stream with Audio (crew/mission control conversations)

livestreamer http://ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload best --player 'vlc -I dummy --video-wallpaper --no-video-title-show --noaudio'

Bash ON/ OFF script

A simple script iss-background.sh for turning on and off the background.

#!/bin/bash
PS=`ps -ef`
if echo "$PS"|grep -q 'vlc -I dummy';
    then echo "off";
    kill $(ps aux | grep 'vlc -I dummy' | awk '{print $2}')
else echo "on";
    livestreamer http://www.ustream.tv/embed/9408562?html5ui best --player "cvlc --no-video" & livestreamer http://ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload best --player 'vlc -I dummy --video-wallpaper --no-video-title-show --noaudio'
fi

Improved bash script

Just select the path of an icon you want to be displayed with notifications, or delete the third line Icon="/path/to/nasa_icon.png the two -i $Icon options)

#!/bin/bash
PS=`ps -ef`
Icon="/path/to/nasa_icon.png"

if echo "$PS"|grep -q 'vlc -I dummy';
    then notify-send -i $Icon "  ISS background OFF" \ "\"Houston, We've Got a Problem !\"";
    kill $(ps aux | grep 'vlc -I dummy' | awk '{print $2}')
else notify-send -i $Icon " ISS background ON" \ "Dowloading data from ISS...";
    livestreamer http://www.ustream.tv/embed/9408562?html5ui best --player "cvlc --no-video" & livestreamer http://ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload best --player 'vlc -I dummy --video-wallpaper --no-video-title-show --noaudio'
fi

Associate it with a launcher: Just replace the following lines : Icon= , Exec=, and Path=,

[Desktop Entry]
Version=1.0
Type=Application
Name=ISS
Comment=Display ISS live stream as background
Icon=/PATH/TO/YOUR/icon.png
Exec=bash iss-background.sh
Path=/PATH/TO/YOUR/SCRIPT/
NoDisplay=false
StartupNotify=false
Terminal=false

Troubleshooting :

  • Black screen : International Space Station (ISS) is on the night side of the Earth.
  • Unity launcher is hidden : I can't figure out a way to do it otherwise.

If one of the following occurs :

  • Blue screen
  • No video
  • error: No streams found on this URL

it might be that :

"The space station is experiencing a temporary loss of signal"

And you might want to check with your web browser if the videos are on air HDEV and Live ISS.

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