The Urthecast camera system was launched to ISS aboard Progress M-21M that arrived in late November. The system includes a High Resolution Camera (HRC) and a Medium Resolution Camera (MRC). Nicknamed “Iris,” the camera system was built by Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK.
The HRC will be installed on the biaxial pointing platform to provide pointing capability to collect imagery of chosen targets on Earth. The High Resolution Camera acquires imagery with a ground resolution of about one meter. It will capture video with a 4K resolution, sending back about 150 Ultra HD videos every day, each about 60 to 90 seconds long, depending on flyover conditions. HRC will capture video at frame rates of up to 5 frames per second creating a data volume of 2.5 Terabytes per day.
The MRC will be installed on the URM-D platform and will not have pointing capability. MRC will capture imagery with a ground resolution of approximately five meters and cover a ground swath of 40 Kilometers.
“The goal of UrtheCast is to bring together geo-tagged educational, environmental, geographical, and social components in a real-time environment. You’ll be able to track forest fires, icebergs, animal migration, and oil spills in the ocean. These things will all tie in to social movements like Earth Day, the struggle for freedom in various parts of the World, and to the beauty of landscapes, culture, history, politics and music,” said UrtheCast chief executive Scott Larson. “People want to see what Earth looks like from space…”