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NASA-Russia Breach Will Not Affect UrtheCast Cameras On Space Station, Company Says

One of the first pictures released from UrtheCast in April 2014 showed several hundred square miles around Moneague, Jamaica. Credit: UrtheCast

One of the first pictures released from UrtheCast in April 2014 showed several hundred square miles around Moneague, Jamaica. Credit: UrtheCast

UrtheCast — the company aiming to bring high-definition pictures of Earth to the public — is among the exemptions after NASA severed most ties officially with Russia yesterday (April 2), the company said in a press release.

“It is business as usual for the company, as we continue the commissioning of our cameras on the International Space Station,” stated Wade Larson, UrtheCast President and chief operating officer.

“The ISS has long enjoyed a privileged position in international diplomacy and has survived unscathed during multiple international crises in recent years. In fact, we understand that the ISS has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. I think that says a lot.”

The news came around the same time that UrtheCast revealed its first pictures from its two cameras, which were installed by Russian spacewalkers in January following a failed attempt in December.

The new pictures reveal a few hundred square miles of Moneague, Jamaica and Santa Cruz de Mara, Venezuela, both taken on March 28.

“This is a pivotal moment for the company and for everyone who’s been a part of the vision that we set in motion in the fall of 2010. Our team has been working extremely hard to make certain that we reach this goal of democratizing a very powerful perspective on the planet,” stated Scott Larson, UrtheCast co-founder and chief executive officer.

The company is promising there will soon be a “near realtime” stream of Earth observations from the cameras’ perch on the International Space Station. Read more about the company’s plans in this past Universe Today story.

Following a leaked memo early yesterday, NASA released an official statement saying that it would sever most ties with Russia except for those related to International Space Station operations. The United States is among several countries condemning Russia’s decision to bring troops to Crimea a few weeks ago. The decision will likely affect several planetary science agreements with Russia, planetary scientist Barbara Cohen said on Twitter after the news was released.

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Olaf April 3, 2014, 3:35 PM

    Expect this to change instantly the very moment that Putin crosses into Ukraine.

    Also expect that the next step will be that the ISS is taken as Russian property and the US citizen sent back to Earth with the next capsule. The world can do nothing, only Russia and China can reach the ISS in the next few years.

    • Daniel Rey M. April 3, 2014, 4:39 PM

      Then Venezuela will pounce on neighboring Colombia in what will be known as the Three-Day War, with the help of the Russian ICBMs fired from the ISS, and rid the country of its murderous, thieving rulers forevermore.

      Concerning the previous matter, namely, the shiftless M31 (a.k.a. Andromeda) podcast …

      1) M31 is 2 million, not 2 billion, light years away.
      2) “they’re gravity is strong enough” should read “their etc.”
      3) Extragalactic gastronomy started when Hubble realized that M31 was a galaxy and the Milky Way was not all there is, which led to the further discovery that the Triangle was gobbling up the so-called Big Ruler© in the sky and turning into more like a square, thus rearranging its innards in such a way that the angles were now like corner spiders, so to speak, as explained by Al-Jibr in the coeval hypothetical Islamic Renaissance, prior to that.

  • Forty April 4, 2014, 11:44 AM

    That cold war mongering by Olaf is ridiculous. Like the step by NASA.

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