NASA will offer a 360-degree streaming view of its next Atlas launch on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
Phys.Org reports that this is the first time that a panoramic view of a rocket launch has been prepared for live broadcast. The streaming video will cover the launch of an uncrewed United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket loaded with supplies bound for the International Space Station.
The Atlas V will carry a Cygnus supply ship dubbed the S.S. John Glenn. Glenn was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth — a feat he accomplished in 1962. Glenn also became the oldest person to travel in space when he flew aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1998.
The launch will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The 360-degree view will be available from ten minutes before launch until the rocket is out of view. The launch is scheduled for 11:11 a.m. local time on Tuesday.
Four fisheye lens cameras will capture the action. The cameras surround the launch pad at a distance of about 300 feet. A processor located in a blast-proof container nearby will turn the images into a seamless 360-degree view with about one minute of lag time.
“It’s great, I mean, to be able to get in there and experience that 360-degree view,” Vern Thorp of United Launch Alliance said.
Viewing the launch using virtual reality goggles, “it really gives you a new perspective that we’ve never been able to do before,” Thorp said.
While United Launch Alliance has recorded launches from all angles in the past, a rocket launch has never been broadcast for live stream viewing.
NASA will stream the launch on its YouTube channel.