MOFFETT FIELD, CA. For the first time ever, a virtual reality recording system will be flown in space. The project, announced today by Deep Space Industries (DSI), will use a spherical video capture system to create a virtual reality float-through tour of the International Space Station’s science lab.
Feeding into the exciting growth of VR systems created by Oculus Rift, Sony, and Samsung, this project, initiated by DSI, is a cooperative effort with Thrillbox, and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), managers of the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. This innovative partnership will allow, for the first time, anyone with a VR headset to have a fully immersive astronaut experience aboard the International Space Station. Additionally, CASIS will use the spherical video to familiarize potential researchers with the scientific facilities on the ISS National Lab.
“The space station is packed with equipment, literally in every direction. Gear is built into the walls, embedded in the floor, and tucked into the ceiling,” said David Gump, DSI Vice-Chair. “The spherical video captured during a float through will enable people to look everywhere, as they would if they were up in the station themselves.”
Deep Space Industries began the project as an early step in developing VR systems to be used for exploring and mining asteroids, and brought in Thrillbox to focus on distributing the captured images to the greatest number of people. The partnership between Thrillbox and DSI provides the right combination of expertise in space operations and virtual reality, creating a successful project that provides value for CASIS and offers a unique experience to consumers. The ISS Floating Tour, in addition to being an amazing experience for high-end devices such as the upcoming retail Oculus Rift and PlayStation headsets, also will be viewable on high-resolution smartphones and tablets.
“As excitement about spherical video spreads to more people, Thrillbox is providing a universal player for web sites and personal computers that delivers a sophisticated way to handle this new format,” said Benjamin Durham, CEO of Thrillbox. “The partnership with DSI will allow us to distribute this unique space experience to consumers around the world.”
A video capture rig with multiple cameras covering a spherical field of view will provide a “you-are-there” experience never before available. In addition to entertaining consumers, this detailed video will be used by CASIS for educating potential researchers and potentially by NASA for familiarizing future ISS crews with the ever-changing internal arrangement of the station’s gear and supplies.
Under a newly signed User Agreement between Deep Space Industries and CASIS, the capture rig will undergo a safety review and crew instructions for its use will be developed. CASIS will manifest the capture rig on an upcoming U.S. commercial cargo flight, hopefully as early as fall 2016.
Deep Space Industries is developing space-qualified spherical video technologies for its near Earth asteroid (NEA) prospecting and mining activities, with the Thrillbox-enabled space station event as the first step to test its potential. Prospecting and harvesting activities at NEAs will be done remotely, using both autonomous and tele-operated robotic machinery. Situational awareness through spherical video will enable a faster pace of operations and will avoid accidents caused by being unaware of hazards off to a side or even behind the robots.
“After this initial test of spherical video on ISS, we hope to work with CASIS to place additional capture rigs inside and outside the space station,” said Rick Tumlinson, DSI Chair. “Our eventual goal is to democratize access to space, allowing people anywhere in the world to share in the DSI exploration and mining experience, and even perhaps remotely operate their own wildcat mining rigs, directly participating in and profiting from in-space activities.”
About Deep Space Industries
Deep Space Industries is an international space resources company, utilizing the most advanced nanosat technologies to realize asteroid mining. To learn more about DSI’s asteroid mining projects, innovative technology, or world-renowned team of experts, please visit: DeepSpaceIndustries.com.
Thrill Box is a virtual-reality (VR) data analytics provider. To learn more, please visit: Thrillbox.com