International Space Station to broadcast live HD video stream of Earth early next year

International Space Station
International Space Station

Canadian company UrtheCast will begin streaming live HD imagery of earth from the International Space Station (ISS) in Spring 2012. Two cameras will be mounted to the outside of the ISS where the video will be down-linked and broadcast on the Internet for the world to see.

International Space Station
International Space Station

Viewing earth from space is always said to have a “profound” effect on witnessing individuals. Now, UrtheCast will bring this experience to the widest possible audience in the form of a high-definition video stream live from space, down to one metre resolution. Typical high resolution imagery found in Google Earth is generally published at a resolution of 2.5 metres, so the detail in the video stream will be extremely good.

The system consists of two cameras; one for capturing wide still imagery over a land area of around 45 kilometres and the other for capturing highly detailed motion imagery at a rate of 3.5fps.

Scott Larsen, co-founder and president of UrtheCast, describes the project as a blend between Google Earth and YouTube. The service will provide an image “of the earth scrolling by”, with the added ability to “fast-forward, pause, skip and rewind” a live stream of the earth. Videos can be tagged and searched by users.

Cameron Chell, director at Urthecast, says the service has the “ability to capture political, environmental, economic or sporting events at potentially any given time”.

The cameras will be launched to space later this year and are scheduled to begin broadcasting live in the Spring of 2012.

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.