It was a major feat to get the International Space Station onto Google Street View!
Google commissioned Thinkspace Consulting to tackle this project. An all-female team of scientists and engineers at Thinkspace collaborated with NASA and CASIS to make it happen.
CASIS, which helps determine how astronauts’ time is spent on research activities, allocated the hours needed for crew member Thomas Pesquet to take thousands of photos of the ISS interior. NASA invited the Thinkspace team to the ISS mockup in Houston where the astronauts train. There the team members tested strategies to address the challenge of maintaining the camera’s position in a weightless environment. To get permission to photograph all the ISS modules, they coordinated with the owners of all the ISS modules and visiting vehicles, including space agencies (U.S., Russia, Japan, and Europe) and commercial companies (Bigelow Aerospace, SpaceX, and Orbital ATK).
The end result is the first virtual tour of the ISS interior to include every module of the ISS, including the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) installed in 2016. It also offers views inside two important resupply vehicles: SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and Orbital ATK’s Cygnus capsule!