Android-powered satellites headed to space

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

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21 Comments

1. CivicSi89

Posts: 349; Member since: Jul 23, 2011

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

14. 305Bucko

Posts: 506; Member since: Aug 07, 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*

17. naga.appani

Posts: 36; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

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

19. MeoCao unregistered

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

2. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

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

4. Hammerfest

Posts: 384; Member since: May 12, 2012

they take kidneys I hear.... too early?

5. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

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

3. D.Aceveda

Posts: 430; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

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

20. NobiAB

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 21, 2012

cough* SKYNET * cough

6. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 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!

7. Android4u

Posts: 456; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

Apple would charge Martians to use their ios

8. Android4u

Posts: 456; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

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

12. Raymond_htc

Posts: 430; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

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

9. plgladio

Posts: 314; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

That's the beauty of open source.

10. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

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

11. ncv144

Posts: 126; Member since: May 04, 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.

13. phatride4ever

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 01, 2012

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

15. Jphones

Posts: 250; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

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

16. plethora

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 24, 2012

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

21. IHatePhones

Posts: 99; Member since: Aug 12, 2009

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

22. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

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

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