Nasa Image and Video Library Case Study

Aditya Raj
4 min readSep 22, 2020

Have you ever wondered about the mysteries of space? NASA Image and Video Library provides access to more than 140,000 still images, audio recordings, and videos. In this blog I am going to discuss how NASA is leveraging the power of AWS to provide facility to explore space with NASA Image and Video Library.

Let’s first start by discussing about AWS.


Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the largest public cloud computing platform in the world and one of the pioneers of on-demand computing. AWS launched in 2006 with a simple queuing service for application developers and soon expanded to offer elastic compute, and simple storage services. AWS uses the subscription pricing model of pay-as-you-go or pay-for-what-you-use.

AWS services include:

• Amazon Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2)

• Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)

• Amazon CloudFront

• Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS)

• Amazon SimpleDB

· Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS)

• Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS)

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC)


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, commonly referred as NASA or Nasa, established in 1958 is an independent agency of the United States federal government. The Nasa is responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research in the United States.

NASA success story with AWS

Nasa provides more than 140,000 still images, audio recordings, and video at the NASA Images and Video Library. NASA started providing online access to photos, videos and audios in the earlier 2000’s, each of NASA’s 10 field centers was making it available online.

But the challenge with this was that the media was in so many different places that one needed institutional knowledge of NASA to know where to search. If anyone wanted to see a video of space shuttle launch then they had to go to Kennedy Space Center website and if anyone wanted a picture from the Hubble Space Telescope, they had to go to Goddard Space Center website. Users had to do lots of digging to find what they wanted.

Earlier NASA tried to bring contents from different sites at one place and put one search engine on the top of it, but it was unsuccessful and they ended up having five to six copies of same images in different ways.

How NASA solve this challenge

By 2014 NASA was trying to shift to cloud as it was very expensive to buy the hardware, build and manage the data centers. The cloud also provided the ability to scale with ease, as needed, paying for only the capacity we use instead of having to make a large up-front investment. So, NASA developed the new NASA Image and Video Library which was handled by the Web. Technology selection, solution design, and implementation was managed by ManTech International. ManTech International choose to build its solution on Amazon Web Service (AWS).

NASA launched its Image and Video Library in March 2017 with Key features include:

  • A user interface that automatically scale for PCs, tablets and Mobiles phones.
  • A search interface through which people can easily find what they are looking for.
  • Ability to download any media and share it on social media.
  • Also access to the metadata associated with the fie.
  • Automated upload of new content using API and also integrated with NASA’s authentication mechanism.

Architecture of NASA Image and Video Library

The NASA Image and Video Library has the front — end webapp separated with backend API. The whole infrastructure is fully automated and supports continuous integration and continuous delivery. ManTech International used the following AWS services:

  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
  • Elastic Load Balancing
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service
  • Amazon Simple Queue Service
  • Amazon Relational Database Service
  • Amazon DynamoDB
  • Amazon Elastic Transcoder
  • Amazon CloudSearch
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service
  • AWS CloudFormation
  • Amazon CloudWatch

With the use of AWS, NASA have created one centralized location for pictures, videos and audio files. It provides benefits like:

  • Easy access to the Wonder of Space. The Image and Video Library automatically optimizes itself according to user’s device.
  • All the components of the NASA Image and Video Library are scalable on demand.
  • By building Image and Video Library on AWS, NASA have saved the cost which is associated with buying and maintaining the servers

Thank You!!



Aditya Raj

I'm passionate learner diving into the concepts of computing 💻