Google adds ISS to Street View, providing a candid look at its interior

Google has added the International Space Station to its Street View platform, allowing users to look at 360 degree photos of its interior.

The imagery was captured by European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who spent six months aboard the ISS earlier this year before returning to earth in June.

“I captured Street View imagery to show what the ISS looks like from the inside, and share what it’s like to look down on Earth from outer space,” he said.

The space station is constructed from 15 connected modules and floats 250 miles above Earth.

Street View provides views of all of the rooms including the sleeping compartment and the Cupola observation module, a small module designed for the observation of operations outside the ISS such as robotic activities, the approach of vehicles, and extravehicular activity with expansive views of the Earth below.

The space station has been occupied by astronauts originating from countries all over the world for the last 16 years with the notable exception of China which was never directly involved in the project and is in the process of constructing its own space station.

“The mission was the first time Street View imagery was captured beyond planet Earth, and the first time annotations—helpful little notes that pop up as you explore the ISS—have been added to the imagery,” Pesquet said. “They provide additional information or fun facts like where we work out to stay physically fit, what kind of food we eat, and where we conduct scientific experiments.”

The pictures provide a relatively candid look at what life is like aboard the station with the ability to look at some of the gadgets and technologies lining the walls of the station. Personal ephemera brought onboard by the astronauts can also be seen in the sleeping quarter modules.

Because of the particular constraints of living and working in space, it wasn’t possible to collect Street View data using Google’s usual methods.

Instead, the Street View team worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to design a gravity-free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras and equipment already on the ISS.

The still photos were captured before being sent down to Earth where they were stitched together to create the panoramic 360 degree imagery.

In May during Pesquet’s stay on the station a planned spacewalk was cut short after a cable supplying power, oxygen, cooling water and communications to a spacesuit developed a leak. 

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