HD images broadcast live from the orbit of the Earth in 2012

A Canadian company called UrtheCast arranged a deal with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, to place two cameras on the International Space Station. They will be mounted outside the ISS this year and will transmit images to the Earth, where they will be taken and posted on the Internet.

One of the cameras will shoot in HD, with a frame rate of 3.25 fps, while the other will have a low resolution, providing three-color images. These will be the first HD continuous video footage of Earth from outer space, said Scott Larson, president of UrtheCast.

Google Earth and YouTube will work in combination, with the possibility to connect real images with maps and other applications.

Pausing, rewinding or zooming on certain times and locations will be possible provided that the ISS will be passing over the place at that moment.

A British company and a Canadian company provided the camera and worked on the mobile robotic arm. They also ensured technical support for control programs.

UrtheCast is looking forward to launching the cameras this year as they plan to start broadcasting in early 2012.