VR Startup Wants You to Tour Outer Space From Your Couch

Since 1961, only 536 people have been to space. Given that there are 7 billion people alive right now, that’s not a lot. But space tourism is on the horizon and private companies like SpaceX are on the rise. Still, odds are you won’t be going to outer space anytime soon. A startup called SpaceVR is trying to make it so that you don’t need to. It’s built its own VR camera in an attempt to bring outer space to the masses—essentially, the company wants to become the Netflix of space VR. They want their VR videos to work with any VR platform, too. The company created a custom-made camera that can hitch a ride on a private cargo expedition to the International Space Station. Their first idea is to mount the camera inside the ISS’s Cupola, the seven-window observatory that will allow the VR camera to look back on Earth.

The 12-camera rig, which the team is calling Overview One, was built around a dozen GoPros. Each will shoot 4K video, stitch the footage together into a VR video sphere, and beam it back to Earth. Which will take a while: It’ll be 624GB of data for every two-hour recording session. The footage won’t be livestreamed in the first-generation camera, but SpaceVR’s co-founders say they want to do live feeds eventually.

“The camera is a handheld camera,” says Isaac DeSouza, co-founder and CTO of SpaceVR. “We envision the astronauts being able to put the camera in places like the Cupola, you just clip it on there. But at the same time, the astronauts are welcome and encouraged to move the camera around, put it in different modules, record different things. Eventually what we want to see is enough footage so we can create 3D models where VR headsets that have positional tracking can take advantage of it, too.”

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