The first ever 3D live feed from space
On 6 August 2011, an ESA-developed camera produced live-streaming 3D images for the first time in the history of space travel – showing the International Space Station like never before.
On 6 August, NASA astronaut Ron Garan operated the Erasmus Recording Binocular camera (ERB-2, tech specs here under) to open a new window on the ISS through stereoscopic eyes, in high-definition quality. As Flight Engineer for Expedition 28 and a video blogger himself, Garan set up the futuristic-looking camera in Europe's Columbus laboratory. While talking about the work on board the ISS, he enhanced the sense of depth and presence by playing with an inflatable Earth globe.
The size of a shoebox, with high-definition optics and advanced electronics, the ERB-2 is the second generation of ESA's stereoscopic camera family developed by Cosine BV (Leiden, the Netherlands) and Techno System (Naples, Italy).
ESA’s ERB-2 coordinator Massimo Sabbatini is dreaming about filming extravehicular activities by ISS astronauts. He said : "The camera may also be used outside the ISS to support spacewalks or other critical robotic operations. This really felt like being in space with an astronaut by your side".
The ERB-2 camera tech specs and pictures of the ERB-2 internal electronics are available on the Techo System web site.
The first ERB-2 stereoscopic clips will be posted in the near future on the new ESA YouTube 3D channel. “If you already have a 3DTV at home, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the world of the Space Station without leaving your sofa. These videos will turn more people into real space fans,” said Sabbatini.
Paolo Nespoli (pictured here above), an ESA astronaut, already documented his daily life on board the ISS during the MagISStra mission . André Kuipers, future ESA astronaut, is actually training to shot with the ERB-2 camera in gravity free environment during his six-month mission to ISS starting in November 2011.
Read the paper and watch part of the video on the ESA web site (in 3D - red/cyan glasses required).
Cosine NV (The Netherlands) is here on the web.
Visit also the ESA TV channel on YouTube; the 3D video will be posted there soon.