Spacewalkers To Install UrtheCast Cameras Jan. 27

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Russian cosmonauts aboard the international space station will try again Jan. 27 to install a pair of commercial cameras owned by UrtheCast of Vancouver, British Columbia, on the station’s Zvezda module.

The installation is scheduled to take place one month after the first attempt failed, according to a statement UrtheCast posted on its website Jan. 13. Spacewalking cosmonauts installed the cameras, one still and one video, on the station’s main Russian module in late December, but neither was able to return data to the ground once connected to the module. 

The communications problem, UrtheCast said in a Jan. 7 statement, was “a cabling issue” inside the station that has since been fixed. The company says its cameras remain in working condition.

“With the … cabling issue now resolved, we expect that the second spacewalk will result in a complete installation,” Scott Larson, UrtheCast’s chief executive, said in the Jan. 13 statement. 

UrtheCast expects to take a few months to check out its cameras once they are installed. The company, which is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, plans to make “near-live” still imagery captured from the space station’s orbit available free of charge on its website sometime this spring. Paying customers will get direct feeds. RSC Energia, Russia’s main human spaceflight contractor, is UrtheCast’s senior partner on the camera project. 

“We’re now confident that our business plan will remain unaffected,” Larson said in the latest UrtheCast statement.