Being in space and looking down at the earth, astronauts are hit with an astounding reality: our planet is a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void", shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. It’s a phenomenon known as the Overview Effect.
Space is the final frontier, and everybody should have a chance to be a part of exploring it and, in turn, being influenced by it—to experience the Overview Effect. There’s a lot of excitement about exploring space by the people, for the people, and we can't do it without you. Together we can make the universe accessible to everyone, inspire the next generation of explorers and get people excited about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) fields.
The more supporters we have, the more cool virtual reality experiences we’ll be able to capture in space. And when we get there, you won’t just be a bystander to history; you’ll feel like an active participant, standing side by side with the astronauts. We will all be explorers together.
Overview One is the virtual reality camera that we are sending to the Cupola module, the observation deck of the International Space Station (ISS), to capture immersive virtual reality video – giving you the chance to have the same experience the astronauts get.
Our camera is being developed using space heritage parts (camera CCD sensor and batteries) to get it up and running as quickly, cheaply and efficiently as possible. We have reduced project risk by focusing our attention on solving the human and computer interface problems, since astronaut time is limited.
Watch VR content we've already collected with the Overview One prototype here!
This campaign is about more than putting a virtual reality camera in space; it’s about giving you the chance to explore space and your role in it. This is bigger than a website, an app or being just another VR company – we are a movement.
Pioneering a whole new avenue of space exploration can be time and cost intensive. In order to ensure our 360 camera gets to the ISS, we’ve gone back to the drawing board and simplified the mission parameters.
$100K covers flight certification, launch costs, and 2D 16K resolution footage that will be physically down-massed (returned from space) to Earth 2x per year.
This engineering proof of concept system validates that we can capture content on the ISS from an operational and space certification standpoint using a 1U payload volume with four cameras and zero onboard processing power. The system specifications are as follows:
- 2D 16K resolution footage: Our original 12-camera system was designed to capture 24K footage. This 4-camera system will capture at a resolution of 16K, which still makes our content “future-proof” (current headsets only support up to 4K resolution content).
- SD Card Storage: This scaled down version of the camera will not have a built in CPU. Instead, footage will be captured and stored on SD cards, then later brought back to Earth (instead of compressing and downlinking the footage using ISS communication bandwidth).
- 1U Payload Volume: By reducing the number of cameras and removing the single board computer communicating through 3 USB hubs to a 1 TB solid state drive, we can package all the electronics into this smaller 1000 cubic centimeter (61 cubic inches) volume.
Additional technical details will be released in updates as we get closer to the goals above.
This is the projected timeline for the development and deployment of the Overview One camera. As with any space mission, there may be changes to the schedule as the project progresses -- we will keep you updated of these changes if they occur.
How The SpaceVR Platform Works
The SpaceVR platform will be a repository of space related content, from rocket launches to views of Earth from space. All our VR footage will be processed and added to our collection, which you can access using our native iOS, Android, or web apps, or via existing 3rd party VR platforms.
How Do I View SpaceVR Content
We want to be platform agnostic so you can access our content from whichever device you choose. We are developing our own native iOS and Android apps for use with the Cardboard VR viewers (like the ones that come with our rewards). We will also make SpaceVR content available on existing VR headsets (think FOVE, Oculus, etc).
How Much Will it Cost
Initially, users can purchase individual pieces of content-- immersive experiences around certain events like rocket launches or footage taken in the Cupola module-- that can last up to 2 hours. As we scale we will continue to add a variety of content to our library and our long term goal is to offer subscriptions that give people access to all the VR content available through our platform. Beta testing of the platform will start soon; if you are interested in being a SpaceVR Beta User please sign up here!
As our earliest supporters, our backers are being offered a special discount that will not be offered outside Kickstarter: access to all the VR content SpaceVR captures, forever. The $50 pledge level and above gives you unlimited access to all the immersive space experiences we ever collect.
We know some of you might be skeptical that we can actually pull off a project this ambitious or that a VR headset can truly capture what an astronaut sees and feels. At first some of us were too – that is until we saw the footage of Mars taken by the Curiosity Rover for ourselves and felt like we were there. Rest assured, it’s pretty inspiring and the reactions videos we will be sharing on Facebook and Twitter prove it.
So how does the magic happen? It all starts with the platform: virtual reality. Then it’s all about capturing the right content and then getting it to you.
How Virtual Reality Works
Virtual reality, more commonly known as VR, is an immersive, 3D experience that makes you feel like you’re actually somewhere that you’re not. You’re transported to a virtual world that you feel truly a part of.
Think of it as the difference between watching a SpaceX launch on TV and feeling like you’re actually at Cape Canaveral watching and hearing the rocket takeoff.
The headset itself is a wearable device you put over your eyes that combines all of these components to teleport you to another world.
It’s been widely regarded by innovators that virtual reality is the future, and that its potential for changing how we see and interact with our world (and others) is staggering. Don’t believe us? Ask Elon Musk.