Space: the final frontier. Not so final, however, for Orbis EarthBalls. EarthBalls have had the honor to go where most of us will never set foot. The NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched into orbit with seven astronauts and an EarthBall onboard TWICE! Once in March 1992, and again in November 2009. During the first 9-day mission, STS-45, in 1992, the astronauts deployed the Earthball to assist them in filming the educational video “The Atmosphere Below.” This NASA-produced educational video, which features the orbiting EarthBall, shows how changes in the Earth’s atmosphere are investigated from the cosmos aboard the shuttle.

Videos of EarthBalls in Space

Additionally, CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman arranged with NASA to launch another Orbis EarthBall into orbit on the Space Shuttle Atlantis, delivering it to Commander Jeff Williams aboard the International Space Station during the second 10-day mission, STS-129, in November 2009. Commander Williams then used the high-flying Earthball to randomly select various locations around the planet. Steve Hartman would then visit to tape human interest stories about the local residents. You can watch this segment, “Astronaut Jeff Williams, Travel Agent” on

Furthermore, another segment,  “Everyone in the World Has a Story” (also on, describes the origins of the EarthBalls in Space project.

Finally, in the final episode of this series, Steve Hartman visits Commander Williams back home on Earth in Houston. They experienced a delightful surprise: “Everyone in the World Has a Story” (Final Episode).Click the episode link to see more.

Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi also featured the aforementioned famous Earthball. An EarthBall was featured in his Earth Day 2010 video broadcast. Japanese school children watched on as he spoke from the International Space Station.

Additionally, during the audience that the six ISS astronauts enjoyed with Pope Francis on October 26, 2017, an orbiting Earthball was prominently displayed aboard the International Space Station. This historical event was broadcast worldwide and viewed by millions. You can watch an excerpt from the video here.