Space may be considered the final frontier, but we're well on our way to discover it. The latest efforts involved neither a multi-million dollar rocket nor a high-powered telescope — but basic GoPro cameras.
NASA has released the latest high quality footage from space, shot completely by GoPros. The cameras were strapped onto astronauts Terry Virts and Bruce McCandless as they made their Extravehicular Activity (EVA) while working on the International Space Station (ISS).
The first video was taken on Feb. 25 during EVA 30, as astronauts completed their outfitting operations on the exterior of the ISS for future commercial space missions to the station. The footage covers one hour of the total six hours and 43 minutes it took to finish the reconfigurations.
The second footage, shot on March 1 during EVA 31, marked the last scheduled spacewalk by NASA as the ISS is prepared for the beginning of commercial spaceflight. The video shows the astronauts as they install new communications equipment set to be used by commercial spacecraft. This video shows 40 minutes of the total 5 hour and 38 minute-EVA.
The two videos offer an excellent glimpse into space before the start of private spaceflight. Not only does the footage provide high definition images of what it's like beyond Earth, but it also shows the versatility of the GoPro camera.
The first attempts at commercial spaceflight happened in 2010, when Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), an American space transport company, launched its unmanned Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX's spacecraft was eventually certified to be capable of transporting humans. Lockheed Martin soon followed suit with its rocket, the Atlas V.
In December 2014, NASA announced the commercial spaceflight companies that will assist in developing new opportunities for space programs: ATK Space Systems of Beltsville, Maryland, Final Frontier Design of Brooklyn, New York, SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, and United Launch Alliance, in Centennial, Colorado. Each company is assigned to develop technology that can be used to further advance the space exploration.
Under the Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities agreement, NASA aims to explore different possibilities for commercial spaceflight.
Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | Flickr