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NASA’s PhoneSat Nanosatellite Powered By Android Phones Headed To Space

Question asked by Satya Swaroop Dash in #Gadgets on Aug 24, 2012
Satya Swaroop Dash
Satya Swaroop Dash · Aug 24, 2012
Rank A3 - PRO
At a time when people are focused on the Curiosity rover’s landing and work, NASA has carried out a project to build nanosatellites with smartphones and other off-the-shelf consumer products. The PhoneSat project that was started at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California has developed two nano-satellite prototypes at a cost of 3500 USD. The satellites have been built in shape of a cube that measures approximately 4 inches or 10 cm.

The first prototype known as PhoneSat 1.0 uses Nexus One phone by HTC which runs Android OS. The smartphone acts as the computing unit and its camera is used for observing earth while the sensors orient the satellite. Additional watchdog circuit monitors the entire system and reboots the phone if it stops sending radio signals. This basic version stays in space for a short period of time and sends back photos and system information back to earth. This version has undergone rigorous testing procedures in thermal-vacuum chambers, vibration and shock tables, sub-orbital rocket flights and high-altitude balloons to make sure that it can operate in extreme conditions in space.

PhoneSat 1.0

The advanced PhoneSat 2.0 equipped with Nexus S manufactured by Samsung provides additional features such as two-way S-band radio to enable command center on earth to interact with the satellite, solar panels to help replenish the battery and GPS receiver to send positional data. This version will contain magnetorquer coils that will interact with Earth’s magnetic field and reactor wheels which would control the orientation of the satellite in space.

NASA has also outlined future uses of these satellites such as the satellites acting as distributed sensors for conducting Heliophysics missions as a part of NASA's upcoming Edison Demonstration of Small Satellite Networks. Three of these satellites (two 1.0’s and one 2.0) are scheduled for launch on an Antares rocket developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Virginia later this year.

Source: NASA Posted in: #Gadgets

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