With a live transmission from its International Space Station User
Information Centre in Noordwijk (the Netherlands), ESA and German company
TMP will demonstrate a new technique for shooting, recording and
transmitting 3D TV images.

Former ESA astronaut Ulf Merbold will present the European elements of the
ISS to visitors to the International Radio and Television Exhibition “IFA
2001” in Berlin, explaining the possibilities for scientific and
industrial utilisation for Europe. The stereoscopic TV images will be
transmitted live from Noordwijk to Berlin via a Eutelsat satellite and
projected onto a large screen. Wearing polarised filter glasses,
spectators will be able to follow Merbold’s explanations in 3D and put

This will take place on Tuesday 28 August from 11:00 to 11:45 h in Hall 1
at the joint TMP/ESA-stand (1.1b/01).

This is the first ever public transmission using this system and will also
demonstrate an ESA operational capability for video
production/transmission of spaceflight-related content in 3D.

The system developed by TMP of Bayreuth (Germany) is based on
time-sequential coding of both video signals for the left and right eye in
the standard PAL format. This makes it possible to record 3D TV images on
normal video tape (Betacam or other professional formats) by using
existing studio production and transmission standards and hardware. The
multiplexed 3D video signal can be transmitted via conventional TV
satellites and is also compressible in MPEG enabling use of a low-cost
digital transponder. In addition to the use of a special 3D camera,
production and transmission of the signal requires only, on the
transmitting side, a special multiplexer unit. At the receiving end, a
special demultiplexer is needed, while for the viewing of the 3D images,
any of the existing techniques for generating/viewing stereoscopic images
can be used:

· a video projector or VGA computer screen with field-sequential play-out
of the images and viewing with “active shutter glasses”

· one or two video projectors with active or passive vertical/horizontal
light polarisation filters and viewing with passive polarised glasses

· a projector or a computer screen for viewing with anaglyphic (red/green)

The TMP system allows for direct 3D processing of both real video images
taken by a 3D camera and virtual reality images generated by computer

The system’s user-friendliness and compatibility with conventional video
hardware opens up possibilities for education and training, customer
information, product presentations, public relations activities and screen

TMP, a typical small/medium size outfit, developed and brought to
operational maturity this system in close collaboration with the European
Space Agency. In two test transmissions done using ESA’s television
services in June and July, 3D video content produced at the ISS User
Information Centre was broadcast Europe-wide via a Eutelsat satellite and
flawlessly received and screened at ESA and at the German aerospace centre
(DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen.

The Information Centre envisages making considerable use of the 3D
technology in future to inform and advise potential users. It is also
planned to record presentations and lectures for the “ISS virtual campus”,
which ESA is currently setting up to support onboard research for
transmission via TV satellite and internet streaming video.

ESA is also preparing a number of different 3D video products to be made
available to information centres at other space agencies and companies,
educational centres and theme parks, technical museums and exhibitions. It
is also investigating the feasibility of flying a 3D camera on the ISS to
present life and work on board. This would open up scope for powerfully
illustrating the laws of physics and technical processes for education and
training purposes.

The ability to record hardware and operations on board in 3D and transmit
stereoscopic images live to earth will be instrumental to the development
of two facilities. Telescience, which enables researchers to monitor
experiments conducted onboard in real-time and directly intervene if need
be. Telepresence, which involves the remote control of construction,
maintenance and repair tasks using powerful robotics systems, which could
support and take over future astronaut activities in space.

Both call for the capability of 3D (tele-)vision. ESTEC and the DLR,
industry and institutes in Europe under ESA or DLR contract, are working
on developing appropriate equipment and procedures which could be put to
use on the Space Station.

For further information, please contact:

European Space Agency (ESA)
Directorate of Manned Spaceflight and Microgravity
ISS User Information Centre
Dieter Isakeit
Keplerlaan 1
NL-2201 AZ Noordwijk
Tel.: +31 (71) 565 5451
Fax: +31 (71) 565 3661
E-mail: Dieter.Isakeit@esa.int

Manfred Reich
Schleienweg 15
D-95448 Bayreuth
Tel. +49 (9201) 93 66
Fax +49 (9201) 9367
E-mail: TMP-S.Dick@3d-live-eyes.com