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The 360° videos became viral already for a while. They allow us to totally immerse ourselves in the environment, by catching breathtaking panoramas, they give us the possibility to look up to the sky as well as we are there and at the same way look down our foot on the grass that hypothetically we are stepping on. Nothing more poetic. And what can be more beautiful than a window overlooking, at 360° on the space and on our beautiful Earth? The amazing all-around images were catched by a Ricoh Theta, a 360° camera hooked to the ISS.
The camera of the ISS
Ricoh Theta is a 360° camera thought for the commercial photography. But an agreement between the company and the JAXA (the japanese space agency) allowed to one of them camera to be part of the equipment of the international space station. It’s a normal camera, exactly like the ones on the market, adapted only for the extreme conditions of the space. But about performances they remained unchanged.
Thanks to the agreement the camera could cross the edges of the planet Earth, and now it rotates around it hooked to our international space station, by sending back to the Earth breathtaking images.
Specifically, due that the agreement happened, like we said, between the company and the japanese space agency, the camera is now hooked to the external part of the japanese module of the ISS.
The camera took off toward the station, together with other instrumentations, the last 25 September, on board of the H-II Transfer Vehicle, even known only as HTV. The HTV is the japanese cargo ship that, together with the russian Progress, the european ATV, the Cygnus of the Orbital ATK and the Dragon of SpaceX, they supply the ISS with everything it needs.
The camera Ricoh Theta
The camera Ricoh Theta is a small compact camera that realizes amazing videos and pictures at 360° of the whole surrounding environment. It’s in the marketplace already for a while and it is used in many professional environments but not only.
It is, infact, an incredible instrument for the photographers that want to catch breathtaking landscapes, but even for the not experts that would like to try the photography art and they want to do something special for their lovest memories. The possibility are really infinite and the results amazing.
Ricoh Theta in the space
Now, sending a commercial instrument in the space is not that easy. After the agreement between the company and the space agency what they needed to do it was to make the camera space proof.
It was, infact, studied to work in the terrestrial conditions. But for the work that it’s going to do it needed to be adapted to pass the safety and operating standard for the extreme conditions like the ones of the space.
First of all it was realized a cover to protect it from the impervious external temperatures and the sun radiations.
Inside its cover it’s almost unrecognisable, but sending it in the space it wasn’t only a habit or a publicity stunt. It has in reality a real mission to do.
The mission of the camera
The decision to send this camera at 3600° in the space was born by a necessity. The Ricoh Theta of the ISS, infact, already start to work and it’s checking the working of the Gimbal biassale of the SOLISS (Small Optical Link for International Space Station). It is a communication system that uses a laser system and that it’s, currently, in an experimentation phase. If it will pass the phase it will be used on the satellites.
Meanwhile, while it goes on to check the working of the SOLISS, the images that Ricoh Theta sends back to the planet are amazing. Incredible images of the planet earth and of the surrounding space at 360°.
This post is also available in: Italiano