The First Top-Secret UrtheCAST Event Makes a Scene in San Francisco!
To a passerby, April 21 resembled any other beautiful day in the San Francisco Bay. Or so it seemed. A smattering of clouds dotted the skies and gulls soared over the tourists’ heads. People milled about, leaning against railings, chatting with friends, and watching boats glide out of the harbour.
At 1:00 PM, a rumbling arose. The helicopter that was paused on the horizon flew closer and the pier became noticeably crowded. Within moments the helicopter was overhead. Passersby looked up, shadowing their eyes from the sun, and watched as almost two hundred people removed their sweaters to reveal bright orange UrtheCast T-Shirts. This is when they began, in unison, to strike some unfamiliar poses. It was clear that something very cool was happening.
On Saturday April 21, 2012, UrtheCast — the company providing the world’s first HD Earth video platform from space — teamed up with Flash Mobs of America to create a flash event never seen before. It proved to be such a top-secret affair that we were unable to reveal it until days later.
Like most UrtheCast happenings, this inaugural UrtheCAST event featured a heavy social media emphasis. Prior to the flash event, UrtheCASTers received a QR code with all of the event details. This code was distributed in order for attendees to tweet pictures, updates and video. What’s more, local major media outlets got involved by covering the event live and onsite at the pier.
UrtheCast is a company accustomed to doing things differently, even when promoting its brand. What’s better than a flash event involving almost two hundred UrtheCASTers? Keeping that event under wraps for weeks and having it filmed via helicopter. In fact, filming the UrtheCAST event from the air was key to emphasizing the capabilities of the UrtheCast platform.
When the cameras go live in late 2012, the platform will remain open-source, allowing users to create applications for sale on the UrtheCast website. As the Space Station passes over a particular geographic location, video data and imagery will be collected of that area, thereby providing the opportunity for awareness of current events across the globe. As another layer of interactivity, users will be able to track the Space Station along its orbital path.
The UrtheCast cameras are scheduled for launch to the ISS in late 2012 aboard the Russian Soyuz Mission. The beta version of UrtheCast’s interactive platform will be made available this summer, 2012. To become a beta subscriber, please visit urthecast.com.
UrtheCAST San Francisco marks just the beginning of the UrtheCAST flash event series that may bring UrtheCast to a city near you. Stay tuned for more in the next few months!
UrtheCast (pronounced “EarthCast”) is a company created around a unique vision: to provide the world’s first live HD video feed of Earth from space. Working with world- class partners — and in an exclusive relationship with renown Russian Aerospace giant RSC Energia — UrtheCast is building, launching, installing, and operating two cameras on the Russian module of the International Space Station. Video data of Earth collected by the cameras will be downlinked to ground stations around the planet and then displayed in near-realtime on the UrtheCast web platform, or distributed directly to exclusive partners and customers.
UrtheCast will provide this interactive platform and HD Earth video data for internet users, app developers, educators, media outlets, government bodies, humanitarian relief organizations, and environmental monitoring services. The two cameras — one medium and one high-resolution — will be installed by astronauts on the ISS in late 2012. Once mounted, the cameras will stream near-live video and static imagery to Earth and will provide extraordinary opportunities for users to view Earth in near-realtime, for free.