A NanoAvionics satellite equipped with a GoPro camera recently captured an image of itself using a selfie stick. NanoAvionics calls it the first full 4K resolution “satellite selfie” in space. The picture and video shared this week shows the satellite with Earth in the background, showing the Great Barrier Reef along the Australian coast.
NanoAvionics CEO Vytenis Buzas hopes the photo can raise awareness of the importance of satellites and the societal and environmental benefits they provide
“In our increasingly visual culture, seeing is believing is important for investors, students, customers and the general public,” he said. “Millions of people watch rocket launches but barely see the satellites moving into orbit or the deployable structures in operation. This will change through live or recorded footage.
The satellite was launched for NanoAvionics’ legacy MP42 microsatellite bus mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 in April of this year. In order to use a consumer camera, engineers stripped the camera to its core and fabricated a custom case for the electronics so it could survive the harsh environment of space. They also made a custom “selfie stick” and developed camera control electronics and special software to communicate with satellite systems.
NanoAvionics also used the camera to test and verify satellite operations and their new payload controller. The company said this demonstration could lead to more real-life satellite imagery, including deployment confirmation, fault detection and micro-meteorite impacts.