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UrtheCast 1

UrtheCast 1 [NASA]

UrtheCast 1 is an earth observation payload attached to the ISS.

The first UrtheCast payload consists of two camera systems:

  • MRC (Medium Resolution Camera) or Theia is a camera to take still images. The MRC is essentially a modified version of RALCam-3, an existing and reliable space camera. The MRC is pointed directly down and takes continuous images of Earth in ~50 km swaths at a resolution of ~6 m.
  • The HRC (High Resolution Camera) or Iris instrument is a video camera mounted on a steerable platform, which captures video that shows detail with a spatial resolution of 1 m. The HRC can also be controlled to continuously aim at a single point on the Earth's surface as the ISS passes overhead which allows the HRC to generate a video stream instead of single images.

The cameras interface with the data handling electronics, built by MDA in Vancouver, Canada, which pass the data through the ISS systems down to the ground where Urthecast make the images available for streaming to their customers and to the public.

UrtheCast 1 was delivered to the ISS on board of the Progress-M 21M cargo sip. It is attached to the Zvesda module of the ISS, where it was mounted in the course of two spacewalks. The Urthecast payload is operated via Energia.

Energia terminated an agreement to host UrtheCast cameras on the International Space Station at the end of 2016. Without Energia, UrtheCast is currently unable to offer new tasking for the Iris and Theia cameras at what the company considers an acceptable service level.

Nation: Canada
Type / Application: Earth observation
Operator: UrtheCast
Equipment: MRC, HRC
Configuration: Payload mounted on ISS
Propulsion: None
Power: provided by ISS
Orbit: 400 km × 400 km, 51.6 (typical)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
UrtheCast 1 N/A 25.11.2013 Ba LC-31/6 Soyuz-U with Progress-M 21M

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