How to visit the International Space Station in virtual reality

SEP 01, 2021

You can now experience life on the ISS like never before thanks to Felix and Paul Studios' collaboration with TIME bringing footage from space to VR.

VR filmmaker Felix and Paul Studios, in collaboration with TIME, have released a virtual reality experience called Space Explorers that is out of this world on the ISS. Other projects undertaken by the Emmy award-nominated studio include Jurassic World Blue, a collaboration with Universal Studios set in the age of dinosaurs. The group also worked on a behind-the-scenes 360-degree VR look at Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs, which nabbed the studio a Sundance award.

Space Explorers is a fascinating and immersive look at how life on the International Space Station is conducted. It's been called the largest ever production filmed in space. The studio used specially designed 360 cameras to record footage both inside and outside the ISS. The ISS-IVA (interior) camera can capture up to 8k footage and is specially designed for cramped environments and is also optimized for total remote operations. The second, outer space camera is designed to withstand dramatic shifts in temperature and other hazards. It is also built to be fully remote, and it is attached to a crane-like structure for further stability.

To enjoy this immersive experience in VR you can purchase it on the Oculus Store for $2.99 where an overwhelming number of people gave the experience five stars. You simply download the Space Explorers app and purchase the ISS episode from the add-ons list to watch on either the Rift or Quest line of headsets. The episode is also available at participating local planetariums which would make use of the 360-degree filming with their large dome screens. Similarly, the episode has listed distribution information should a museum or science center wish to broadcast the episode.

In Space, No One Can Hear You Stream

The first episode of the series, titled 'Adapt,' chronicles a new crew taking over the International Space Station and follows each crew member as they adapt to life in outer space. Most other episodes chronicle the day-to-day activities of crew members aboard the space station, with the inaugural episode detailing how departing astronauts get ready to leave the ISS. Other episodes reveal how astronauts train to go into space and experience a rocket launch from a private space company. The series so far has four episodes available to download with each subsequent release coming months after the previous one.

Other award-nominated virtual reality documentaries available on the Oculus platform include Travelling While Black which immerses the viewer in the long history of restriction of movement for black Americans and the creation of safe spaces for black communities. Another highly-regarded documentary includes Home After War which shows the destruction of a post-ISIS-occupied city in Iraq. The documentary shows users how easy it is to be harmed by booby traps and improvised explosives. The Oculus store is a place for some truly amazing documentary experiences to truly immerse the user, and Space Explorers is no different.

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