Vancouver-based company UrtheCast has released the first images taken from its medium-resolution camera (MRC), following the installation of two British-manufactured cameras to the outer hull of the ISS on Jan. 27 of this year. The cameras will allow the Canadian company to provide users with a near-live stream of Earth in stunning detail around the clock.
In order to secure the UrtheCast cameras to the outer hull of the ISS' Zvezda service module, Russian cosmonauts had to embark on two space walks totaling over 14 hours. Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy installed a high-resolution camera named Iris and a medium-resolution camera by the name of Theia.
The first image, captured on Mar. 28 by Theia, features a 300 sq km (186 sq mi) shot of the city of Moneague, Jamaica, approximating 3,200 x 8,000 pixels with a resolution of roughly six meters per pixel. The second image, featured below, was taken on the same date and displays a striking 3,000 x 5,000 pixel view of the urban area surrounding Santa Cruz de Mara, Venezuela, covering roughly 260 sq km (162 sq mi).
The images were released as an example of the unique service that can be expected by users in the months and years to come. By putting images of this quality in the hands of millions of users worldwide, the company is sure to deliver on its goal of providing the "astronaut experience," allowing users to observe the world in real time throughout the changing seasons.
Looking to the future, Urthecast continues to calibrate its Iris HD camera prior to the launch of its Ultra HD video service, which will offer a 4K (Ultra HD) color near-live stream.