REDMOND, Wash. — For the first time, people around the world can view three-dimensional images of the space shuttle Endeavour and surrounding buildings at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida before it launches into space. Consumers can log on to http://spaceworld.msnbc.com to access never before seen 3-D images of details such as the shuttle boosters, interior and exterior of the Vehicle Assembly Building, and launchpad. With the simple click of the mouse, consumers can zoom in to see the smallest decorative detail or zoom out, panning 360 degrees to view unique vantage points of the shuttle in a wider context.
Space World is a joint project between NASA, Microsoft Live Labs and msnbc.com. It uses Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth to create digital tours of the space shuttle Endeavour and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center facilities. Photosynth uses hundreds of standard digital camera images to construct a 3-D view of an environment or "synth". The detailed 3-D model, like a hybrid of a slide show and a gaming experience, gives consumers the sensation of smoothly gliding around the scene from every angle. As consumers explore the collection of images, they can see where the photographers were standing (or flying) when the pictures were taken.
"It's exciting for us to work with Live Labs and NASA on this project," said Rex Sorgatz, executive producer at msnbc.com. "It's an entirely new way of interacting with images, unlike anything that's out there right now."
Consumers can immerse themselves in the Endeavour shuttle launch experience by logging on to http://spaceworld.msnbc.com. The current collection features three different aspects of the shuttle’s lifecycle as never before seen:
- The interior and surrounding area of the Vehicle Assembly Building, the largest one-story building in the world, used for housing external fuel tanks and flight hardware, and the location of the Orbiter stacking with the solid rocket boosters and external fuel tank to prepare for the space shuttle launch.
- Endeavour on the launch pad including intimate detail shots taken from a helicopter.
- The previous flight STS-117 Shuttle Atlantis returning from Edwards Air Force Base in California to Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility.