Since December 2018, a new camera sent up to space on the International Space Station has been capturing the life of astronauts, and the cosmos, like never before.
Developed by VR veterans Felix & Paul Studios in collaboration with Z CAM, the unprecedented lightweight 360-degree camera is capturing virtual reality footage for a new VR series from Time and the ISS National Lab. Space Explorers: The ISS Experience will immerse viewers in life in space, culminating in the first-ever virtual reality space walk. The series is set to air in 2020.
“We wanted to bring the viewer to the International Space Station to be alongside astronauts to experience the reality and challenges of life in microgravity and be part of the journey of learning to live and do science in space,” explains Felix and Paul Studios co-founder and creative director Félix Lajeunesse in a statement from NASA.
Science experiments have been the main focus of the series because, as Dylan Mathis, NASA’s communications manager for the International Space Station Program, explains, “The science is ultimately the most important thing we are doing on the space station. We are conducting science every day and it is science we can’t do anywhere else. VR allows us to show people that in a different way.”
Because of the nature of where it’s being filmed, the astronauts are the stars of the show and the videographers. By the end of their missions, each astronaut has become an expert in setting up the camera and capturing footage for the series.
And in order to capture the spacewalk, a new camera will be launched into space next year. It’s being developed by Felix & Paul Studios in collaboration with commercial space station company Nanoracks.
“I think it is inevitable that VR is going to be the default way to document space exploration moving forwards. It is a perfect match between medium and story,” says Lajeunesse. “Space exploration is something that you want to live. You want to be there. You want to experience it. Everything we’re doing on station right now is a demonstration for the spaceflight industry and the entertainment industry of how we can use this medium moving forward in the space world.”