Satellites mounted on the side of the International Space Station belong to a company called Urthecast, and the data they generate will be available to software developers.
A successful spacewalk has attached HD webcams to the International Space Station (ISS). This is good news for scientists, researchers, students and just about anyone who uses the internet.
The ISS circles the Earth 16 times per day, as it does this one of the cameras will be in a fixed position, capturing everything it flies over, while the other will be maneuverable, allowing it to zero in on specific points.
The cameras, installed by Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy on the Russian part of the ISS, belong to a Vancouver company called UrtheCast (pronounced EARTH-cast) Corp. UrtheCast will deliver near-real-time video and sell images. The company also intends to allow developers access to the data collected through Application Program Interfaces (APIs).
APIs specify how software components interact. Applications that use Google or Twitter data, for example, use APIs supplied by Google or Twitter. That means that a new wave of applications using real time, high resolution images from the ISS will soon be available to scientists, companies, schools and consumers for education, information and entertainment.
Urthecast expects that it will take three months to fully calibrate the system and that webcam data to be available by this summer.
This is the second attempt at hooking up the Earth observing satellites. A first attempt, shortly after Christmas, appeared to have been successful, but ground controllers were not able to receive data from the cameras. According to NASA, the problem was caused by indoor cabling. On this second attempt good connectivity was reported by Russian Mission Control.
Source: Daily Mail