World's first 'live' video feed of Earth from space

Jul 05, 2011
The flight model of the medium resolution camera, RAL Cam 3, to be installed on the International Space Station

( -- The world's first high definition streaming video camera to be installed on the International Space Station (ISS) has been announced by David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science at the UK Space Conference on 4 July. The project is a joint venture between Canada, Russia and the UK.

The will offer a video image with a resolution that is comparable to much of Google . This will give users the unique opportunity to see man-made objects and groups of people and to search for videos of particular locations. It will be possible to zoom in and out, virtually steer the camera from side to side, rewind and fast forward as they investigate areas of interest on Earth. The web platform also gives users the capability to constantly track the location of the ISS anticipating the exact time when it will pass over a particular geographic location.

Canadian company UrtheCast (pronounced 'Earth cast') will supply and imagery of Earth, collected by two high definition cameras on the Russian module of the ISS. The two cameras, one medium resolution and one high resolution, will be designed, built and tested by STFC's RAL , at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The data and imagery collected from the cameras will be down-linked to ground stations around the world and then displayed in near real time on the UrtheCast web platform.

President of UrtheCast, Scott Larson said "UrtheCast is excited to be working with RAL Space on this project. We feel that the ability to show people what earth looks like from space, in a near-real time environment, will provide for a significant educational opportunity. At the same time, showing people how close we are all connected and responsible for earth, is obviously something that we continually need to be reminded about".

Professor Richard Holdaway, Director of RAL Space said: "Here at RAL Space we are both delighted and excited to be involved in this International project that is at the cutting edge of technology. It will provide a new and intriguing connection between space and the rest of the world."

Commenting on the project, David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science said: "The UK has real strengths and expertise in space technology, as well as leading-edge research facilities. This exciting international project will give people the opportunity to see Earth from an astronaut's perspective, and I'm delighted that British scientists and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory are playing such pivotal roles in developing this groundbreaking technology."

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User comments : 4

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2 / 5 (5) Jul 05, 2011
Why after 100 billion dollars has it taken this long to put a camera on the side of the Space Station for us taxpayers to get a live view? Why can't they just rig one from an on board computer to a window in the Cupola? Why Why Why.....
5 / 5 (4) Jul 05, 2011
Ooh, sounds interesting. Can't wait.
5 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2011
Oh good! Now I can zoom in on them nude beaches!
not rated yet Jul 06, 2011
Why after 100 billion dollars has it taken this long to put a camera on the side of the Space Station for us taxpayers to get a live view? Why can't they just rig one from an on board computer to a window in the Cupola? Why Why Why.....

Live video feed from the station is on NASA site: