Last month, stuntman Felix Baumgartner jumped from 128,000 feet above the Earth. (A Canadian engineer contributed to his spacesuit.)
Only him, astronauts, and previous high-altitude skydive record holder Joe Kittinger have truly seen the beauty of the Earth from that far above. Now Vancouver's UrtheCast has partnered with the International Space Station to install a high-resolution camera so that the rest of the world will be able to experience space in real-time.
The cameras, built by the United Kingdom's Rutherford Appleton Labs, will have a 40 kilometer radius. It will be the first simultaneous broadcast of space in high definition video that can be streamed by anyone around the world ready by the first half of 2013 via the Soyuz Mission.
UrtheCast comes with a platform that will make users feel like they are interacting with a mashup of Google Earth and YouTube. Users will be able to scroll, pan, zoom, and search their way around the Earth video stream. That will reveal everything from natural wonders of the world to buzzing urban centres.
With UrtheCast's cutting edge technology you will be able to tag things as they unfold such as political drama, environmental concerns, economic turbulence, sporting events, and street festivals.
"Earth video data collected by the cameras will be down-linked to ground stations around the planet and then displayed in near-real time on the UrtheCast web platform, or distributed directly to exclusive partners and customers," said the company's blog in mid-August. "UrtheCast will provide this interactive platform and HD Earth video data for internet users, app developers, educators, media outlets, government bodies, humanitarian relief organizations, and environmental monitoring services."
Techvibes mentioned mentioned back in February that the company secured a $4.2 million dollar contract with Canada's leading space company responsible for the Canadarm. UrtheCast also announced in August a $4.5 million fundraising round from Beacon Securities to advance the development of their cameras and ground station network integral to the network.
The company says they could have the largest potential worldwide audience in history. That may be one of the reasons they have decided to go public. Beacon Securities is advising and plans to complete a brokered private placement. The company anticipated back in August that this will happen through a "reverse takeover" of W7 Acquisition, a capital pool company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "WSV.P."
UrtheCast was named Digital Alberta's best startup back in June. The chairman and CEO of Globalive Holdings and Wind Mobile Anthony Lacavera became chairman of UrtheCast's board of directors in late October.
UrtheCast will be continuing development throughout the expected public transaction. The beta version of the web platform will be available later this year.