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Space Station To Get HD Streaming Video Camera

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the hd-eye-in-the-sky dept.

Earth 50

superglaze writes "A high-definition streaming video camera is to be installed on the International Space Station within a year. Built in the UK, the camera will hopefully provide a Google Earth-quality view on our planet, and the stream will be viewable — complete with zooming and panning capabilities — on the web."

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Zooming and panning? (1)

antido (1825442) | more than 3 years ago | (#36660920)

Better start getting in line for tickets.

But how will it be monetized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36660934)

There's a company here in Calgary, Alberta that is going to operate this camera, and right now they are raising money through a participation fund. The question is, how will they actually monetize this video feed? It can't be cheap to operate and while I can see a lot of people taking a look here and a look there, I think it won't attract repeat viewers (similar to a webcam of Times Square, you look once, say it's neat and call it good). So how do you actually make the money needed to make it viable in the long term?

Re:But how will it be monetized? (2)

biodata (1981610) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661210)

I imagine any government or agency that can't afford their own spy satellite might find uses for it. Also, selling the feeds to news agencies when stuff is occurring on a scale that can be captured by the camera. Imagine how much news agencies would have paid to have live zooming grainy video of Osama's compound during the raids, or 9/11 as it happened, kidnap of ships by Somali pirates, airplane crashes. The applications to news gathering are endless, and each clip would be worth a decent amount to the news agencies I would imagine, and would fuel a thirst for massive replication of the facility, and probably increases in resolution (military-permitting). Then there's watching weather events live, live feeds of long distance car races. Add in some post-processing with tracking and such and you can imagine some nice fancy live animations of sporting and news events, timelapse of forests being cut down, crops ripening, buildings being built, floods engulfing land. I think the first poster is right and there will be long queues for access.

Re:But how will it be monetized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36661348)

Yeah... except the ISS will never be there when you need it. Bin Laden raid? ISS flying somewhere else. Weather events? Oh, ISS is flying over there in 3 days, I hope that fits your schedule...

Re:But how will it be monetized? (2)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662270)

The ISS makes almost 16 orbits per day.

Re:But how will it be monetized? (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661236)

Float a Trojan coffee pot [wikipedia.org] outside the station and watch as astronauts play snap dragon with the icy cold of space... all for a fresh cup of piping hot Java.

The advertisements will just roll in.

Re:But how will it be monetized? (2)

Tx (96709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661296)

"So how do you actually make the money needed to make it viable in the long term?"

There will be plenty of repeat views, I'd think. Any time there's a flood/tsunami/volcanic ash cloud/other large-scale natural phenomenon, their problem is more likely to be keeping up with demand than anything else. Plenty of ad revenue.

Re:But how will it be monetized? (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661784)

I think there may be a couple large companies that provide Internet satellite views and maps that may be willing to compete for paying for the output of such a device.

Re:But how will it be monetized? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662622)

donations?

Al Gore proposed a satellite to do this in 1990s (1, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661002)

Too expensive said NASA.

Re:Al Gore proposed a satellite to do this in 1990 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36661142)

Wouldn't the answer have been there are too many already?

Re:Al Gore proposed a satellite to do this in 1990 (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661604)

Too expensive said NASA.

But they built it anyway, and it sits in storage because no one has a launch plan.

Aka the Triana although the official marketing name was the DSCOVR

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Space_Climate_Observatory [wikipedia.org]

Re:Al Gore proposed a satellite to do this in 1990 (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662718)

I remember talk of this in my section/branch at Goddard. Do you know which group actually designed/built it? I left in '97, but I remember grumbled comments about Gore's satellite with an HD feed, intended to sit at the L1 point. We built many small explorer satellites for expendable rockets and payload groups for shuttle flights.

Re:Al Gore proposed a satellite to do this in 1990 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36662786)

The interesting bit of that being, NASA said it was a waste of money on their very limited budget, it got built anyway, and then the 100 million dollar pile sat in storage for 10 years. Now the Obama administration (why does anyone but NASA get to decide what to do) wants to repurpose it as a solar observer instead to replace ACE.

That thing might never see space. Your tax dollars at work, folks.

Re:Al Gore proposed a satellite to do this in 1990 (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36663706)

because no one has a launch plan.

Here it is: give it to Space-X. They need to prove their mettle at high altitudes and storing the satellite is costing money.

Charge whatever an IMAX-3D movie costs at the time for 15 seconds of satellite time (manage the details ahead of time in a queue set up on a website). Give the JPEG as a novelty birthday gift, merchandise the pictures with Zazzle, etc.

Space-X and NASA can split the revenue. Break-even in about 3-5 years, depending on how big a team is needed to manage ops and business.

The Idiots At Space-X??? LOL... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665200)

Yeah, if you want something to blow up on lift off or crash shortly after liftoff the clowns at SpaceX are the ones to pick.

For people and stuff you actually want to get into orbit...

Re:Al Gore proposed a satellite to do this in 1990 (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661712)

They must of priced it using those monster HD cables rated for space.

Cool (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661022)

This will be pretty cool to zone out with. Pop on Space Station Soma, the stream, and off to lala land you go

Re:Cool (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662740)

Is that spacing out?

About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36661090)

Finally, they turned on that HD switch, but, is it for life?

panning and zooming (5, Interesting)

pahles (701275) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661110)

And how are they going to handle multiple viewers wanting to operate the camera at the same time?

Re:panning and zooming (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661146)

I'm on record for calling 'shotgun'.

so, after me, you guys can all fight over the controls.

Re:panning and zooming (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36661268)

I'm on record for calling 'shotgun'.

Excellent. You can sit next to me [wikipedia.org] while I drive the controls.

Re:panning and zooming (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661204)

And how are they going to handle multiple viewers wanting to operate the camera at the same time?

I'd say they mean we can manipulate the image down here, but the camera is static. Kinda like digital zoom and optical zoom. If we can actually control the camera through the web, I'd guess they draw a few people a day from a pool of registered users and allow them to control the camera for 30 seconds or something of the sort.

Re:panning and zooming (1)

matthiasvegh (1800634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661560)

Well while the linked article doesn't say much, I'd say the camera would be quite a bit more high-def than "high-definition". Especially since the article claims near Google Earth quality. If so, all zooming and panning would be segments of the orignal video feed. I also suppose that there would be more than one camera running at once, so a large cluster of images would be available for this purpose.

Re:panning and zooming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36662354)

How long before repressive countries, China, Israel, Syria, etc. start demanding 'No Zoom' zones ?

Re:panning and zooming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665698)

I'd say almost instantaneously once it's mounted.

Re:panning and zooming (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662596)

I didn't RTFA but the solution is simple: Use a high-res camera (4K maybe?), put a wide angle lens on it, and have a server listen in on the signal and send only the small chunk the user is requesting.

Re:panning and zooming (2)

MrTester (860336) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662704)

<quote>And how are they going to handle multiple viewers wanting to operate the camera at the same time?</quote>

No Worries. Google already figured it out.
I mean, Im already able to zoom in the satellite cameras for Google Earth.

Whats that? software? digital image? ...
Enough with your crazy techno babel!

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36661132)

Now the astronauts can look for nude sunbathers like the rest of the government surveillance personnel.

Speed an issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36661232)

I remember reading just recently that the internet speed available on the ISS is basically akin to dial-up. Do they intend to setup an alternate (and obviously faster) data stream?

Re:Speed an issue? (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36666238)

Yes and no, they have dedicated data streams, the actual internet is only a small stream. They can easily stick it on another and use a server to shift it to another later. As for them being dial-up speeds, urm, try more like a few billion satellite broadband users, they can hook into any satellite they have line of sight on and open a connection to any point on earth they have a line of sight on with pretty much as much bandwidth as they need. The biggest problem is latency from earth to orbit, and they just shifted the orbit further out. Not to mention, the closest ground station is rarely directly underneath their location (shortest distance with least interference).

More Space Cameras! (1)

Snarky Jones (2317960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661298)

Now the Russians can watch me showering from space! Sweet! ***In Soviet Russia, sky looks down at you!

Re:More Space Cameras! (1)

foxenfan5 (2339364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661350)

Don't worry. Nobody is interested in watching you showering.

stealth blimp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36661420)

Interesting, I wonder what they'll do when some lucky watcher catches a glimpse of the stealth blimp with this camera....

http://www.thestealthblimp.com/

just... (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661442)

point it right at the sun. Easy way to break what will turn out to be a multi-million dollar venture. Just don't send me the bill.

Re:just... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662172)

Since it is Nadir facing, they probably put hard stops in to prevent its field of view from ever being steered in a direction that would harm the optics of the instrument. They also are probably going to mount it on a part of the ISS that keeps its FOV in a safe orientation during various attitude maneuvers and so on.

they dont gots fast internet though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36661542)

but they only have dial up http://www.pcworld.com/article/235031/space_station_internet_too_slow_for_gaming.html

NASA PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36662098)

It's about time that NASA pushes something like this forward. Sure, it's sad to see the shuttle fleet stand down but it's hardly unexpected. NASA does such a bad job connecting the public to space. So much so that when congress decides to decommission America's only access to space we don't bother to write our legislators. Sure, we've heard the stories about trickle-down technologies - but we want pictures. We want adventure. We want to go ourselves. Look at all the attention Branson's Virgin Galactic has received for a relatively old-hat space technology. They're not even going orbital and they've attracted hundreds of individuals who stake small fortunes for five minutes of space.

If NASA ever wants to increase their budget beyond that of the air conditioning budget for the military - they're simply going to have to sell it to the public. Having a nice HD camera up there is a step in the right direction.

http://gizmodo.com/5813257/air-conditioning-our-military-costs-more-than-nasas-entire-budget

Prohibited Areas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36662242)

I wonder how many "Prohibited" areas will be input into the cameras control software. It wasn't too long ago that you couldn't see the White House & other major locations on several major map services (Bing, Google, etc) because the areas had been blurred/pixelated due to "security concerns" (see security theater).

Re:Prohibited Areas? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662638)

I wonder how many "Prohibited" areas will be input into the cameras control software.

Zero. This is for orbital views, it doesn't have a super zoom lens.

Re:Prohibited Areas? (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662868)

Original article says Google Earth-like resolution though.

Re:Prohibited Areas? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662968)

I read that too, but it isn't qualified as 'extreme zoom' anywhere. If they're saying 'Google Earth-like' instead of saying "meters per pixel", they're saying it's not that exciting.

NASA (taxpayer) money at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36662648)

What's wrong with some space-qualified off-the-shelf commercial broadcast camera? Might be considerably cheaper.
Hasselblad went to the moon.
Nikon went on various spacewalks.

Erasmus Recording Binocular 2 (ERB-2) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36662950)

There is already (since Feb 2010) a stereoscopic 720p HDTV camera on the ISS, called ERB-2, with the ability to send live 3D streams down to Earth:
http://www.stereoscopynews.com/hotnews/hotnews-1/hotnews-2/1356-erb-2--the-most-expensive-3d-camera.html
http://www.esa.int/esaMI/magisstra/SEM8M7QOHEG_0.html

I would rather see (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#36663134)

a Bigelow unit added by 2013/2014. Seriously. This could be used for commercial space by private space companies. They could put up more astronauts for short visits.

Resolution (1)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | more than 3 years ago | (#36663198)

See http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/25/urthecast-to-stream-live-hd-footage-of-earth-from-iss-like-stic/ and http://www.gizmag.com/urthecast-earth-video-platform/19020/ for more details. Video 3.25fps @ 1m/pixel, Stills @ 10m/pixel. Sounds kind of odd, dunnit?

The Emporor and the Flying Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36663318)

Didn't anyone read that story when they were young?

Hidden cost... (1)

asdbffg (1902686) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664916)

I can see the headline now:

Astronauts Worry That HD Camera's Strain on Internet Connection Will Interfere With Ability to Check Facebook From Space

UFO's live (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665276)

Hey, atleast we all can watch live UFO's :-)

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