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NASA Launches Three SmartPhones Into Space Orbit

Question asked by Smriti Jha in #Gadgets on Apr 25, 2013
Smriti Jha
Smriti Jha · Apr 25, 2013
Rank C3 - EXPERT
Last Sunday Orbital Science Corp's Antares rocket was launched from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia for its maiden flight to Space. On board were three smartphones and no, not from the Samsung Galaxy series as much as those sound Space-y. The hardware emulated for the now in-progress mission is in fact the Google-HTC Nexus One Android smartphone. This triad of smartphones is actually a trio of satellites, albeit their size would have us believe otherwise. The satellites are by far the cheapest in design to have ever flown into space. The point of this experiment by NASA is to determine if consumer-grade smartphones can be alternatively used as the main flight avionics of an inexpensive satellite. So, the smartphone essentially serves as the satellite's onboard computer. The sensors are used for altitude determination and the camera focuses on Earth observation. Most things come with the package, the GPS, fast processors, versatile operating systems, miniature sensors and high-resolution cameras. Though, a more powerful radio and an external Lithium-ion battery have been specially added to assist the phones for their more adventurous endeavors.

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Transmissions from all the three PhoneSats have been received successfully by multiple ground stations on Earth. The PhoneSat team at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. is responsible for monitoring the satellites as they complete their two-week mission. The smartphones are basically expected to send information about their health via radio back to Earth. You might see attempts at clicking pictures of Earth too. Amateur radio operators around the world are encouraged to participate in the mission by monitoring transmissions and retrieving image data from the satellites. Sorry, the PhoneSats are not taking any calls or texts.

Source: NASA Posted in: #Gadgets

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