VR camera satellite to launch into orbit in 2017

9 Aug 2016

Overview 1 illustration via SpaceVR

The first virtual reality (VR) camera satellite is to be launched into low-Earth orbit in June 2017, allowing those of us on Earth to see our planet like never before.

The concept of a VR camera satellite was first put forward by a start-up called SpaceVR back in 2015 as a Kickstarter project that planned to send an advanced 3D camera to the International Space Station (ISS), but it failed to raise the necessary $500,000 funding.

However, in April of this year, the start-up revealed it had received an investment of $1.25m, and now this will be used to help launch the first VR camera satellite – called Overview 1 – into low-Earth orbit in June 2017.

Future Human

Once the satellite has entered the desired orbit, 4K sensors will capture extremely high-resolution images across 360 degrees of almost any location on Earth.

To make it as accessible as possible, SpaceVR has confirmed that the content released by the satellite will be viewable using any VR headset, including entry-level smartphone devices like Google Cardboard.

To help get the satellite into low-Earth orbit, SpaceVR has signed a launch agreement with SpaceX to launch the satellite aboard its Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS.

‘Let’s launch cool shit into space!’

From there, another space start-up called NanoRacks will prepare Overview 1 for its entry into orbit using its CubeSat Deployer during the scheduled CRS-12 resupply mission to the ISS.

“My dream, when I first had this idea at a hackathon one-and-a-half years ago, was to launch a VR satellite with NanoRacks,” said Ryan Holmes, founder and CEO of SpaceVR.

“It seemed crazy and borderline unachievable. Now we are signed, paid, and moving towards something exponentially more borderline unachievable.

“This is the most important milestone to date for SpaceVR and we’re honoured to share it with a group of pioneers that have been pushing what’s achievable since before we were born. Let’s launch cool shit into space!”

SpaceVR’s plan is to sell the VR as a subscription service whereby people with VR-compatible equipment could zoom in on a location using its 360-degree cameras aboard Overview 1.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic