One of the promises of the commercial space flight revolution now underway is affordable access to space by ordinary people. That’s coming a whole lot sooner than you might think, and it’s going to me more than just affordable. It’s going to be free.
UrtheCast, a startup based in Vancouver, has cut a deal with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, to install a pair of high resolution cameras on outside of the Russian segment of the International Space Station. They will be installed as early as October.
Once in place, the cameras will send a live video feed of the ground beneath the station’s orbital track along with the data needed to precisely sync up the video with the precise geographical location of every moment of the feed.
Both will be pushed through the UrtheCast website, where it will be available for free to the public.
That’s cool, but what you’ll be able to do with that video and data is even cooler. Enter a geographical location on the website, and get back the latest video from when the station passed over that spot. Since the station circles the globe once every 90 minutes, it will be recent. Quite recent.
Getting married? Time it for a space station pass, and get some footage of it from space. You’ll be able to pause, fast forward, and rewind the footage as you access it. Think Google Earth meets YouTube, and you’ll begin to see how powerful this could be. Nothing like this has ever been available at any price, let alone for free.
The company is betting on revenue from licenses to use footage in newscasts and other commercial applications. I think it’s a good bet.
Sign up at http://www.urthecast.com/ to be notified when the service is ready. And hold off on those wedding plans until it is, especially if you’re inviting me. This I gotta see.