The hotly anticipated launch date for the world’s first Earth video camera in space has been set for October 16, 2013. Launched within the Progress 53P Space Cargo Ship, aboard a Russian ‘Soyuz’ Rocket, two UrtheCast cameras will launch to the ISS from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, along with a payload of Space Station supplies.
“This is a watershed moment for UrtheCast, paving the way for the rest of our plan as we work to complete a ground station network, the interactive UrtheCast web platform, and rigorous camera testing,” said UrtheCast President and CEO Scott Larson. “Being placed on the Russian Space Agency’s Progress manifest solidifies a decisive step towards UrtheCast’s official platform launch.”
Working with Russia’s largest space organization, RSC Energia, and the UK’s RAL Space to build its two cameras, UrtheCast is now in the advanced stages of implementing the world’s first HD Earth video platform, streamed from space.
Following delivery, the two UrtheCast cameras – one medium-resolution still camera and one high-resolution video camera – will be installed on the Zvezda Service Module of the Russian segment of the ISS, during its crew spacewalks. Soon after installation, Earth imagery and video will begin transmitting to ground stations across the globe via an existing high-speed downlink from the ISS, then streamed to the web.
The Russian government’s Soyuz Rocket has provided both cargo and manned journeys to the ISS since November 2000, when a Soyuz Space Ship transported the first crew to the ISS. It remains the only mission transporting astronauts to and from the orbiting space lab.