As part of his Apollo 14 mission back in 1971, Lunar Module Pilot Ed Mitchell became the sixth man to walk on the moon. And now as an advisor to the SpaceVR project, Mitchell has signed on to an effort which will launch a 3D, 360-degree camera into space.
Founded in January 2015 by Ryan Holmes and Isaac DeSouza, SpaceVR will be the world’s first virtual reality platform which will allow users to experience space first-hand from any mobile, desktop or virtual reality device. The project, now raising funds on Kickstarter, will use the cameras to feed livestream footage from the International Space Station.
The SpaceVR team plans to launch the camera late this year, and they’ve signed a contract with Made In Space to 3D print the camera casing on the International Space Station. They say the idea of printing the camera enclosure in space is meant to cut down on payload weight and “derail any issues in the transportation of the casing.”
Back in September of last year, Made In Space and NASA launched the very first Zero-G 3D printer into space for installation on the International Space Station. Aaron Kemmer, the CEO of Made In Space, Inc., called it “a transformative moment” which marked a new chapter in the capability of humans to live away from Earth. The idea is that by manufacturing assets in space, that process can be accelerated and broadened.
The Made In Space team of entrepreneurs, experienced space experts and key 3D printing developers now boast more than 30,000 hours of 3D printing technology testing more than and 400 parabolas of microgravity test flights. By January, 25 objects had been 3D printed in space.
The SpaceVR team say the final, working version of the full camera will be assembled by an astronaut on the ISS following directions provided by the ground control crew.
They call the camera the engineering team created the Overview One, and once it’s been assembled on the ISS, it will immediately begin collecting the first virtual reality footage from space inside the cupola module, and the large windows which surround the module will provide an ideal vantage pint for users to observe the Earth.
The plan is to downlink the footage and turn it into a virtual reality experience for any VR device, including the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard.
SpaceVR’s plans for the future include live-streaming content from space to a user’s VR headset from orbit in real-time, sending a VR camera to the moon sometime in 2017, landing a VR camera on an asteroid by 2022, launching a remote controllable cube-sat VR camera system into orbit and reaching Mars as soon as 2026.
SpaceVR has teamed up with NanoRacks to reduce the risks associated with the launch process; if anything should happen to go wrong on the first attempt, a second payload would be placed on the on the next available flight.
The support levels for the Kickstarter campaign run from $1 to $10,000, and you can check out what that level of commitment will net you here. The team hopes to raises funds to the tune of $500,000 by September 9th.
Will you be supporting the SpaceVR project’s plan to provide a virtual reality experience from the International Space Station? Let us know in the SpaceVR Kickstarter forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the team’s Kickstarter video below.