This is no Space Oddity: it might look a little rough around the edges, but ISS Live Video is an interesting and enjoyable app.
Price: $0.99 (£0.79)
Size: 25.7 MB
Developer: Matt Gibson
Platform: iPhone/iPod touch
NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) added a live stream not long ago, which broadcasts around the clock to USTREAM. Now, a handy little iPhone application called ISS Live Video and Audio Stream brings the ISS live stream to your smartphone, along with a couple of useful extra features.
On the surface, and judging by the app’s release notes, ISS Live Video looks like a potentially buggy piece of software. Based on the screenshots provided by the developer, the interface looks poorly designed, and there’s no indication as to whether the app works well and delivers the features it promises to. Fortunately, however, this isn’t the case.
Instead, ISS Live Video is a pleasantly surprising app. Upon first launching it, you’ll be taken to the application’s main interface: “ISS Live Stream 1.” This stream includes views from the ISS itself, along with internal views from inside the space station and audio commentary from astronauts (and Mission Control). Because the ISS orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, this stream provides viewers with a sunrise or sunset roughly every 45 minutes. At other times, you might be able to see city lights from the planet below, though Earth is sometimes masked in darkness, too.
There’s a second stream in the app, “ISS Live Stream 2,” and this is the more entertaining of the two. Broadcasting the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment, this stream sends out HD video of part of the ISS as it orbits the planet below. Like the first stream, this doesn’t always work, and there may be times when viewers experience losses of signal (resulting in a dreaded error message from the good folks at NASA). But the video from this stream looks far better in terms of both quality and of what you can actually see. It’s without doubt more of a joy to behold.
Aside from this, a third interface drops a pin on a map of the world in order to show where the ISS is currently positioned. This, of course, will better inform your viewing of the app’s two streams. You can also hit a refresh button in this interface to see how quickly the ISS moves: it’s surprising how fast the space station orbits around the planet.
All in all, anyone with even a mild interest in space should check out ISS Live Video. It’s a great piece of software, and while the streams are available free from USTREAM, the convenience of accessing them inside a dedicated application (combined with the app’s additional features) make this a worthy piece of mobile software. If space is indeed the final frontier, ISS Video Stream makes viewing this dark expanse easier than ever.
You can download ISS Video Stream and Live Audio now on the App Store, and as mentioned, it’s priced at $0.99 (£0.79).