by Staff Writers
Oxford, England (UPI) Nov 26, 2013
Two cameras able to video the Earth's surface at detail as small as 3 feet across are on their way to the International Space Station, their British makers say.
Created by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire for a Canadian start-up called Urthecast, the cameras were aboard a Russian Progress space freighter that launched Thursday.
Urthecast hopes to build a business by providing space station imagery to customers like news organizations that want moving pictures of war zones and regions of the Earth affected by natural disasters.
From the space station's altitude of 275 miles things like large crowds and moving vehicles should be discernible in images from the cameras.
Scott Larson, the head of Urthecast, was present at the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan to observe the launch.
"There are a lot of very happy Canadians, a lot of very happy Brits and a lot of very happy Russians," he told the BBC. "It is truly spectacular."
The cameras, once spacewalking astronauts install them on a special gantry at the rear of the ISS, should be in operation by the New Year, Larson said.
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