A pair of UK built Earth Observation cameras have been launched to the International Space station on a Russian progress freighter. One of the devices is a high resolution video unit that will return short snatches of the planets surface, up to a staggering 150 times a day.
The movie camera should be able to pick up details as small as a metre across from the ISS's attitude of 400km.
The cameras were made by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, for a Canadian start up called Urthecast. The company hopes to build a business around space station imagery.
One of the customer sectors for the high resolution video is likely to be news organisations that want moving pictures of major events, such as war zones and regions of the Earth hit by natural disasters.
The second camera will provide static imagery at a resolution of 5m per pixel. Urthecast hopes to have both units up and running in the New Year once they have been installed by spacewalking astronauts on a special gantry at the rear of the station.
The CEO of Urthecast, Scott Larson, was at the Kazakh spaceport to witness the launch.
He said: "There are a lot of very happy Canadians, a lot of very happy Brits and a lot of very happy Russians," he said. "It is truly spectacular. We are just incredibly grateful and thankful to have the opportunity to come here, and for all the hard work that has gone into it."
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