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Android-powered satellites headed to space

Posted: , by Scott H.

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Android-powered satellites headed to space
The Android ecosystem has been rapidly expanding beyond phones and tablets lately – just in the last week we saw the introduction of an Android-powered Wi-Fi camera by Nikon, and Panasonic is using Android apps and NFC-equipped devices to control and program smart appliances. NASA is one-upping them all with a use for Android that is truly out of this world. NASA’s new PhoneSat program is experimenting with using Android-powered miniature satellites.

As part of a program to explore how small cheap satellites can be made with off-the-shelf parts, engineers are NASA’s Ames Research Center have created 10cm square satellites that use Nexus phones as the computing brains that power the satellite. The four pound mini-satellites can be launched dozens or even hundreds at a time, bringing lots of aggregate observing power on the cheap.

Two models are currently in development, dubbed PhoneSat 1.0 and PhoneSat 2.0. The 1.0 model runs on the inveterate Nexus One, while the 2.0 model sees an upgrade to the Nexus S. The circling of our planet should being later this year, as two PhoneSat 1.0s are planned to hitch a ride to orbit alongside a PhoneSat 2.0. The simpler spacecraft will come with an extra battery (it’s hard to plug in while in LEO) and mostly serve to collect data on how the phones perform in the hard vacuum of space. The 2.0 version gets tricked out with more options, like solar panels and reaction wheels, allowing for a longer duration mission that can include changes in orientation of the satellite.

Sending little green robots into space will pick up next year, and NASA has missions on the drawing boards that include low-cost moon missions, as well as Earth observation missions that would benefit from many having many eyes in the sky. Now if NASA can just manage to snag a Galaxy Nexus for the next gen satellites they’ll be able to play Angry Birds in HiDef!

Android-powered satellites headed to space

source: PC World via Droid-Life

21 Comments
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posted on 24 Aug 2012, 15:47 19

1. CivicSi89 (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)


Hmmm.... Maybe Martians will find out how awesome Android is..

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 22:04 3

14. 305Bucko (Posts: 506; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)


ASTRONAUT: Houston Im having trouble with the lockscreen, it seems the reflective glass on my helmet is not allowing a proper biometric scan. Im gonna do a second attempt.
HOUSTON: This is Houston, you're not going to remove your helmet are you?
ASTRONAUT *choke*

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 01:41 3

17. naga.appani (Posts: 36; Member since: 26 Nov 2011)


LoL, Apple sues NASA and Google, both, that the satellite has rounded rubber corners...

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 03:13 1

19. MeoCao (unregistered)


Android will be the OS of everything that no other OS can match.

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 15:50 17

2. ajac09 (Posts: 1367; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


lol love to see ios do that ( and not charge an arm and a leg for it)

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 16:18 17

4. Hammerfest (Posts: 370; Member since: 12 May 2012)


they take kidneys I hear....

too early?

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 16:34 15

5. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


Nope. Never too early to poke fun at Apple people.

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 15:53 12

3. D.Aceveda (Posts: 366; Member since: 30 Jun 2012)


Well done Google. Coming up with a great OS that anyone can use.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 05:37

20. NobiAB (Posts: 3; Member since: 21 Aug 2012)


cough* SKYNET * cough

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 16:45 2

6. roscuthiii (Posts: 1873; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


I've had two Android phones and enjoyed them both... but does anyone get the feeling sometimes that Google = Cyberdyne, Chrome = Skynet, and Android = Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 (and beyond)? Or is that just me?

Either way, allow me to welcome our glorious new overlords. *ahem* Kill all humans!

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 16:54 5

7. Android4u (Posts: 456; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)


Apple would charge Martians to use their ios

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 16:58 3

8. Android4u (Posts: 456; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)


Then again... Android vs. ios in outter space sounds pretty cool.

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 20:48 1

12. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)


Android would win in outerspace. android is a robot.. while apple is just an apple.... rotting in outerspace....

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 17:11 2

9. plgladio (Posts: 313; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


That's the beauty of open source.

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 17:13 3

10. -box- (Posts: 3878; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


"...'DROIDS.....IN...... SPAAAAAAAAACE" *cue corny early sci-fi movie music*

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 19:14 4

11. ncv144 (Posts: 126; Member since: 04 May 2012)


(at the beggining of the movie) ...Google, NASA, Samsung and HTC have teamed up in a great effort to send our favorite robot, andy, into space, before, andy was just found on the surface of the earth but now he will be taking a thrilling journey into outer space where the true power of the droids will be shown. This is DROIDS......IN...........SPACE.

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 20:50

13. phatride4ever (Posts: 32; Member since: 01 Mar 2012)


I wonder if SpaceX (owned by Google) had any help with this

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 22:06

15. Jphones (Posts: 235; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


if apple went in to space they would call it ispace and charge stars for shinning.

posted on 24 Aug 2012, 22:25

16. plethora (Posts: 7; Member since: 24 Aug 2012)


Oh no! I wonder if Apple will now sue NASA?!

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 12:51

21. IHatePhones (Posts: 99; Member since: 12 Aug 2009)


This just in!! Angry Birds in Space... FOR REAL

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 22:10

22. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1384; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Sorry the application Satellite has recieved a unexpected error .....

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