The first 360 action camera in space takes impressive photos of Earth

Nov 29, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

The first 360 action camera in space takes impressive photos of Earth

Nov 29, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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The first 360 action camera in space takes impressive photos of Earth

In January this year Insta 360 attached two of its Insta360 X2 cameras to a satellite. Now they have just published photos and videos from those cameras. And at 500km above Earth, the results are pretty incredible.

Insta360 teamed up with Media Storm and SAR satellite company Spacety to make this happen. They started working on this project in July 2021. They spent a year getting the cameras ready, and finally sent them into space.

The first 360 action camera in space takes impressive photos of Earth

Of course, this isn’t the first time that insta 360 has attached cameras to unusual locations. Last year one was attached to a falcon for real bird’s eye views, and more recntly one was attached to a weather balloon.

However, this project was a lot more challenging. Going into space is tough for humans, but also for cameras. The X2 had three big challenges that the team had to overcome.

The first 360 action camera in space takes impressive photos of Earth

A tough environment

Firstly, the cameras needed to withstand the extreme temperature differences that occur in space. Temperatures range between -70°C to 50°C as the satellite orbits the Earth.

The first 360 action camera in space takes impressive photos of Earth

Secondly, the camera needed to be radiation resistant. The electronic components needed protection from high-energy particles present in space.

Lastly, a special shock and vibration-resistant design were needed for the bumpy rocket launch and the camera’s constant rotation in space. It was important to make sure that the satellite structure did not obstruct the lenses, allowing the X2 to capture seamless 360 footage.

While the Insta360 X2 is built for action, it still needed modifications to withstand the harsh conditions of space. Engineers had to adapt both the lens, motherboard and outer shell to ensure it would hold up.

One chance to get it right

The scientists would not be able to make physical checks on the cameras themselves once in orbit, so everything had to be triple checked. The Insta360 X2 cameras have no backup hardware or software, if the cameras stop working that’s it, game over.

For that reason, the cameras were put under even more extreme tests than they would need in the field. The outer casing shell of the cameras was changed to an aviation-grade aluminium, and a layer of gold foil was added to protect against radiation damage.

The first 360 action camera in space takes impressive photos of Earth
The customized camera on the right

To retrieve the footage, Spacety provides a communication network connecting the camera and satellite through a specially adapted USB Ethernet port for transmission.

The satellite will keep going for two more years before leaving its orbit and burning up in space. Hopefully we will see some more spectacular images by then!

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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