VANCOUVER, Feb. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - UrtheCast is pleased to announce that it has taken another giant leap towards launching the world's first HD video platform of Earth from space, by entering into a contract with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA). As a preeminent provider of electronic solutions, MDA will supply information solutions in support of UrtheCast's video of Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). Information solutions to be included in this agreement include space data handling hardware (data compression units), which will be integrated into UrtheCast's two high-definition video cameras.
As Scott Larson, President of UrtheCast, explains: "We are thrilled to have MDA as part of this project and to be able to add them to a team that already includes RSC Energia, Rutherford Appleton Labs in the UK, and the Russian Federal Space Agency. A project like this is obviously quite involved and complex, and MDA is the right partner. We look forward to working closely with them on a variety of fronts over the duration of this project."
UrtheCast operates under a singular vision: to provide a high-resolution video data platform for internet users, app developers, educators, media outlets, government bodies, humanitarian relief organizations, and environmental monitoring services. The two cameras — one medium and one high-resolution — will be installed by astronauts on the ISS in late 2012. Once mounted, the cameras will stream near-live video and static imagery to Earth, and will provide extraordinary opportunities to view Earth in high-definition.
"A large part of UrtheCast's vision involves education — a commitment to providing a tool that will allow educators and students to interact with and absorb information about Earth and space. Up until now, this has been impossible: an interactive, ever-changing, near-to-real-time view of our planet," says Scott.
Image data will be offered by means of a consumer-centric website created by UrtheCast, a subsidiary of Earth Video Camera Inc. The platform will be open-sourced, allowing users to create applications for sale on the UrtheCast website. As the Space Station passes over a particular geographic location, video data and imagery will be collected of that area, thereby providing the opportunity for awareness of current events across the globe. As another layer of interactivity, users will be able to track the Space Station along its orbital path. "This powerful platform will be housed in a social, interactive, and open-sourced environment. We are increadibly excited to see what developers and the public will accomplish with this amazing data source," says Larson.
"We've got a wonderful opportunity here," explains Larson, "The monitoring of Earth is becoming increasingly important to ensure its protection, and that of its inhabitants. UrtheCast aims to change the way we observe the globe, and MDA is the right company to help provide this imagery to the world." explains Larson.
The UrtheCast cameras are scheduled for launch in late 2012, aboard the Russian Soyuz Mission. The beta version of UrtheCast's interactive platform will be made available this summer, 2012. To become a beta subscriber, please visit urthecast.com.
UrtheCast (pronounced "EarthCast") is a company created around a unique vision: to provide the world's first live HD video feed of Earth from space. Working with world-class partners — and in an exclusive relationship with renown Russian Aerospace giant RSC Energia — UrtheCast is building, launching, installing, and operating two cameras on the Russian module of the International Space Station. Video data of Earth collected by the cameras will be down- linked to ground stations around the planet and then displayed in near-realtime on the UrtheCast web platform, or distributed directly to exclusive partners and customers.
MDA provides advanced information solutions that capture and process vast amounts of data, produce essential information, and improve the decision making and operational performance of business and government organizations worldwide. Focused on markets and customers with strong repeat business potential, MDA delivers a broad spectrum of information solutions, ranging from complex operational systems, to tailored information services, to electronic information products.
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