UrtheCast releases first Ultra-HD full-color video content from the International Space Station
Today, Canadiancompany UrtheCast is celebrating the release of three full-color videos shot from its Ultra HD Iris imaging device, mounted onthe exterior of the International Space Station (ISS). The videos (seen below) arebut a small taste of the high-quality, near-live streams that thecompany is planning to make available to the world with the fulllaunch of the UrtheCast Earth-viewing platform.
UrtheCast is toutingthe video release as a historic event, and it's really quite hard toargue the assertion. Mankind has taken millions of years to evolve toits present state, and has only been capable of manned spaceflightsince 1961.
Therefore in thegreater context of our species, the ability to view the Earth fromorbit is an incredibly recent development. Now, UrtheCast ispreparing to provide high-quality, full-color images and near-livevideo streams to anyone in the world with internet access. Whenviewed in this light, UrtheCast's efforts to democratize space doesindeed take on a historic aspect.
It took two spacewalks,totaling over 14 hours, to install the company's Iris and Theiaimaging devices on the exterior of the Russian Zvezda service module.Theia, UrtheCast's multispectoral medium-resolution camera, iscapable of capturing 50-km (31-mile)-wide swathes of terrain at aresolution of 5 m (16 ft) per pixel. Each day, Theia couldpotentially image around 29 million sq km (18 million sq miles).Meanwhile, UrtheCast's Iris imaging device is designed to be trained on specific locationsand is capable of capturingfull-color video sequences up to 60 seconds in duration, with aresolution of 1 m (3 ft) per pixel. Furthermore, in April UrtheCast announced that it was topartner with NASA, integrating the agency's own High-DefinitionEarth-Viewing (HDEV) serviceinto the company's platform.
"This summer we'llbegin feeding live video data from the HDEV cameras to UrtheCast'sweb platform, our interactive hub of Earth video and imagery,"states UrtheCast's CEO and Co-founder, Scott Larson. "NASA's online HDEV channel has already garnered over 46 millionviews in under a year, so this is no doubt an exciting opportunityfor everyone involved. With this resource, we'll tap into a view ofthe world that is not only breathtaking, but incredibly inspiring."
The three videos includedin today's release were shot by the company's Ultra HD Iris camera,and showcase the capabilities of the service while offering a briefglimpse at life in three highly diverse cities – London, Boston,and Barcelona. The impressive level of detail displayed in the videosallows users to observe traffic moving in real time, while beingpresented with an overlay highlighting various pieces of information.
Whenthe UrtheCast Earth-viewing platform is launched, images from Iris,Theia, and NASA's own HDEV experiment will be processed andcontinually streamed to the service, available to all. A basicaccount will be completely free, and users will be able to manipulatethe image, and even upload their favorite pieces to their profiles.
Thecompany will also be offering its services to the commercial sphere,allowing paying customers to task Iris on a specific area and collectexclusive footage. The company also envisions numerous humanitarianand agricultural applications for the data, including aiding indisaster relief, monitoring crops, and keeping track ofdeforestation.
“We are realizingUrtheCast’s mission to bring something really quite unique to theEarth Observation industry," explains UrtheCast President andChief Operating Officer Wade Larson. "With today’s videorelease, we continue to move towards being able to deliver fast,scalable, and affordable Earth Observation imagery to our customers,and ultimately broadening the market appeal and utility ofspace-based remote sensing.”