New ISS cameras to stream live HD video of your house from space

A company called UrtheCast is going to bolt a pair of high definition video cameras with big zoom lenses onto the International Space Station. These cameras will send down live video of Earth 24/7, with a resolution comparable to Google Earth. In other words, you'll be able to see yourself waving. From space.

UrtheCast (it's pronounced "EarthCast") is partnering with the Russian Space Agency two install two multi-million dollar cameras on the ISS later this year. One of them is a still camera that will take 30-mile-wide pictures with a resolution of 18 feet per pixel, and the other is a video camera that will stream back 3.25 frames-per-second at a much higher resolution, producing footage with pixels a mere three feet square.

You'll be able to see this video more or less live along with where on Earth the ISS is currently flying over, so the result should be something like a space-lovechild of Google Earth and Justin.tv.

The ISS orbits the Earth 16 times per day, ranging from 52 degrees north latitude to 52 degrees south latitude. This means that it'll likely be over your head at some point if you live in the U.S., although the field of view of the camera is small enough that getting full coverage might take a little while. Fortunately, the UrtheCast website will have tools to help you figure out when the station is going to be overhead so that you can make sure to be outside to get your picture taken.

While a three-foot resolution probably isn't enough to pick out details on individual people, there are things you can do to maximize your visibility. Figure out when the ISS will pass over you, and then put on some white clothes and go lie down on your driveway. The contrast should be pretty easy to pick out, and, if you're lucky, you might even be able to commandeer two whole pixels.

Look for UrtheCast to go live by the middle of 2012.

UrtheCast, via Calgary Herald

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