There are several virtual reality (VR) experiences that hope to show VR users what it is like to be in outer space, from videogames such as Lone Echo to space exploration simulators like Earthlight. Such experiences are carefully coded to balance fun with realism, but with a new project from SpaceVR, realism would not need to be coded in.
SpaceVR are working on a specially designed camera satellite that will be able to capture actual footage of space travel. That footage can then be used as a basis for creating immersive, realistic space experiences for VR users.
The device which makes this possible is about the size of a Thermos and contains four cameras on each end. The company plans to send the special camera into space aboard a Space X rocket some time in August, where it will spend 2-3 hours each month recording footage until it falls back to Earth and burns up in the atmosphere nine months later. The footage will be transmitted back to earth using X and S band microwave transmissions.
Speaking with Mashable, SpaceVR CEO Ryan Holmes said: “I saw what happened to the astronauts after that experience. I saw them as being much better people, much more connected to other people [as a result of] seeing our place in the universe. I realized that once that happens to everyone, we’ll fundamentally live in a different world as a species, because we’ll all think differently. My goal is to catalyze that [astronaut experience] by sending this VR camera into space so people can really see what it’s like.”
Funding for the satellite camera came partially from a Kickstarter campaign that launched in 2015, though the cost of booking a place on the Space X rocket far exceeded the funds raised by SpaceVR’s crowdfunding. The gap was filled by funding raised from various venture capitalist firms such as China’s Shanda Group.
The VR experiences crafted from the footage are planned to be made available near the end of a year and will be compatible with various VR headsets including the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
VRFocus will continue to bring you news on future SpaceVR projects.