We've seen 4K from outside the ISS before, but now NASA is sharing material from the station captured with itsonboard RED Epic Dragon.
Delivered to the International Space Station back in January 2015 (with rather more success than the recent ill-fated attempt to send up Microsoft’s HoloLens tech), the Epic Dragon gives the orbiting NASA crew the ability to record at up-to-300 frames per second. So far the space agency is focusing on 4K output, though, of course, the Dragon is also capable of shooting up to 6K so hopefully we’ll see the space crew beaming back even higher quality videos at some point.
"These cameras have large sensors capable of very high resolution imaging at high frame rates,” says Rodney Grubbs, program manager for NASA’s Imagery Expert Program. “It is like having a high speed 35mm motion picture film camera, but it is compact, can use lenses we already have up there, and it is digital. No film to return to Earth.”
NASA intends to utilise both the enhanced resolution and recording speed flexibility to record dynamic events such as docking procedures and vehicular operations, more specular views of Earth itself, and also to capture onboard scientific experiments and investigations in greater detail. While the 4K resolution will doubtless prove useful for for theatrical/theme park presentations, NASA video editors are currently focusing on content for free web distribution. In addition to making fully ultra high definition videos available for download in a variety of formats via the archive.org website, NASA has also begun posting Epic Dragon footage on YouTube, with down-converted versions available alongside the original 4K videos.
Three videos, including the latest in which astronaut Terry Virts plays around with microgravity and effervescence inside the ISS, are now online.