Dive head-first into the cosmos with SpaceVR

One of the major promises of virtual reality is the ability to find yourself transported to exotic locations. Nothing is quite so exotic as the final frontier.

SpaceVR wants to launch high-definition 360-degree cameras into space so that users can experience the majesty of the cosmos on their virtual reality headsets.

The small 5-person company just raised a $1.25 million Seed round led by Shanda Group with participation from Skywood Capital. This money is going to quite literally throw their company into the sky.

SpaceVR launched a KickStarter this past September to begin the process of getting their cameras into space. They raised over $110,000 with the goal of presenting viewers the same views as the International Space Station.

Fast forward a few months and the company has gotten more ambitious— they want to launch their own satellites. To do so they’re looking to recruit the help of a little company called SpaceX to launch their eye 200 miles into the sky. The camera, dubbed the Overview 1, will have a pair of 4K fisheye cameras capturing the vast space around it and a lifespan of 6 months.

VR filmmaker Chris Milk has famously called virtual reality the “ultimate empathy machine.” SpaceVR founder and CEO Ryan Holmes believes that VR in space only heightens that emotion. I chatted with Holmes about the “overview effect,” where people, when presented with a view of earth from afar, are much more likely to empathize with others and see the pettiness of so-called major issues in the face of viewing our little planet.

“Prioritization changes,” Holmes told me. “There’s more of a focus on making the world sustainable, and [people] freak out about a lot of the stuff we’re doing to the planet now.”