The View from a 360-Degree Camera 100,000 Feet Above Earth

Insta360 partnered with NewMakeIt in order to send its tiny action camera ONEX2 high enough into space to see both the darkness and curvature of Earth.

While views of Earth from space are quite common, it is rare to view them from other cameras or photographers. Insta360 joined forces with NewMakeIt in order to attach its ONEX2 action camera on a space balloon in order to test whether it can withstand low Earth orbit.

Insta360 claims that the ONE X2 camera was mounted on a custom payload, with an invisible selfie stick later removed by the camera’s algorithms. This created what it calls a “drone-esque,” panoramic view of Earth.

Insta360 ONE X2 was introduced in October 2020. It is a $430, 5.7K stabilized 360-degree camera. The camera is water-resistant up to 10 meters below surface. However, the specs don’t include any information about its ability to survive near-Earth orbits.

NewMakeIt is a community facility that provides physical space, tools and technology for local residents to create and implement innovative, creative, entrepreneurial or learning ventures. It was clear that the Insta360 X2 was attached to a high-altitude balloon to see what happens.

Insta360 claims that high altitude balloons can reach heights of 18 to 23 miles above sealevel. This matches Insta360’s claims that the balloon and camera floated to 100,000ft and remained there for two hour. Although cameras have been operating at similar heights for years and still function, it is impressive that cameras of a consumer level can operate at negative 56 degrees Celcius (or 68.8 Fahrenheit) for just two hours.

Custom payload for launch into space

The custom-made domed unit is shown in the video. It appears to contain a few items. Insta360 rates the battery to last 80 minutes, and the company claims it can record continuously for up to two hours. This doesn’t include the ascent time.