Fly me to the moon: Your smartphone is NASA’s newest satellite!

April 30, 2013

 

In the latest use of a smartphone, on SundayNASA launched three smartphones into orbit to test their abilities as a satellite. These “nanosatellites” as they are being called or better known to us earthlings as a Google-HTC Nexus One smartphone running the Android operating system, are being tested to see if smartphones can be used as low cost satellite alternatives. “The phones are being tested to determine whether a consumer-grade smartphone can be used as the main flight avionics of a capable, yet very inexpensive, satellite,” according to NASA. NASA reports their “off-the-shelf PhoneSats already have many of the systems needed to be satellites, including fast processors, versatile operating systems, multiple miniature sensors, high-resolution cameras, GPS receivers and several radios.” These smartphone satellites will transmit data via radio back to Earth about their health to prove they can operate effectively in the final frontier. They will also endeavor to take pictures of Earth using the smartphone’s camera. According to NASA, “amateur radio operators around the globe will be able to assist the mission by monitoring transmissions and retrieving image data from the three satellites. Large images will be transmitted in small chunks and will be reconstructed through a distributed ground station network.” Learn more about this mission at: http://www.phonesat.org  For more about information about NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program and the PhoneSat mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/smallsats

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