UrtheCast Cameras On Board Cargp Ship, Headed To ISS
November 26, 2013

Cargo Ship On Way To ISS, Bringing UrtheCast Cameras With It

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

A Progress 53P cargo ship launched Monday on its way to the International Space Station (ISS), bringing with it two high-quality cameras that will provide a live video feed of Earth.

The cargo ship launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz rocket and is scheduled to arrive at the ISS on Friday, November 29. The spacecraft brought along two cameras developed by UrtheCast, a Vancouver-based technology company that is developing the world’s first near-live high-definition video feed of Earth from space.

The payload included the world’s first 1-Meter Class, high-resolution Earth video camera and one medium-resolution imaging camera.

“This is the biggest milestone UrtheCast has achieved thus far,” Wade Larson, co-founder, President and Chief Operating Officer of UrtheCast, said in a statement. “I want to thank everyone who has made this a reality, including everyone at UrtheCast and our strategic partners; Roscomos, RSC Energia, Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates.”

The cameras will be installed on the Russian segment by two cosmonauts and then calibrated. UrtheCast said it expects the cameras to be put into operation in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of next year.

As soon as UrtheCast gets these cameras up and running, the company will be offering a video feed to anyone with an Internet connection.

“From a User perspective, UrtheCast will blend features of Google Earth with the playback and video search functionality of YouTube,” the company wrote in a press statement. “The UrtheCast experience will be truly unique, generating significant awareness, publicity, and User interest worldwide.”

Users will be able to track the location of the ISS and search for videos of a particular location. They will also be able to zoom into areas of interest, as well as rewind and fast forward areas on Earth. According to UrtheCast, if a competitor were to build and deploy a dedicated satellite to compete against the real-time feed, costs would exceed $100 million.

“From a technology standpoint, it is also difficult to achieve imagery with similar data quality,” the company said. “The combination of exclusive partnerships and technology allow for substantial barriers to other would–be entrants.”

Progress will be passing within a mile of the space station on November 27 to test an upgraded automated rendezvous system. NASA said video of the flyby will be recorded and replayed as part of the docking coverage.

The cargo ship is also bringing 1,763 pounds of propellant, 48 pounds of oxygen, 57 pounds of air, 825 pounds of water and 3,119 pounds of spare parts and experiment hardware to the station.