Images from space, taken by NASA’s Android smartphone powered satellites

NASA’s PhoneSat project officially ended about a week ago, with the three Android smartphone powered nanosatellites, named “Alexander, Graham, and Bell,” burning up in the atmosphere on April 27th, after spending two weeks in orbit.

The primary goal of the mission was to see if a consumer-grade smartphone could be used as the primary computer to control avionics for a satellite in orbit, in this case two HTC Nexus One devices and a Samsung Nexus S.

While in orbit, the satellites sent hundreds of packets of data to ground stations around the world. NASA collaborated with amateur radio operators to collect the data from space and piece together the images that were taken with the smartphone’s cameras. The images were transmitted back to earth in pieces at only 1,200bps, accounting for some of the faults in the pictures.

The collection of images above and below is the result of several years’ work, culminating in the two-week space flight, launched from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia last month. NASA wants projects like this, a student led effort, to foster further research into commercial, academic and citizen-space applications.

Click here to see the PhoneSat page, including the dashboard of amateur operators around the world

source: NASA via The Verge



1. twens

Posts: 1182; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

The photos are blurry,can't see a thing

7. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Seems that it is just a caps from a live video stream, not a photos and video was transferred with some kind of Real-time Transport Protocol. So please don't talk crap about low quality photos...

20. D.Aceveda

Posts: 433; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

Watch out guys. We got a Nasa employee over here

33. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Thank you. :)

35. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

No, I'm not working at NASA, but at the moment I'm working with an project which use Real-time Transport Protocol.

28. omar300

Posts: 210; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

i like the choice of these scientists. they had all 3 nexus. seems like they are fan of android too. and even though there theory is correct that you can send consumer size product in space. but Come on! what good is that picture?

21. taikucing unregistered

some parts of the photo are blurry because there are losses in transmission due to atmosphere or noise. Probably the transmitter power is too weak.

30. htc_evo_3d

Posts: 84; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

You are right dude. the pics are blurry due to loss in transmisson( in bytes) and not because of the phone itself. Some guys are complaining about the quality of the phone and recommending Nokia :P

34. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

First of all it is not a photos, it is just a caps from a live video stream. Second of all this "blurry squares" are here because some data packets was lost during live video stream using some kind of Real-time Transport Protocol. In other words, internet speed was not stable. :)

32. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

"The images were transmitted back to earth in pieces at only 1,200bps, accounting for some of the faults in the pictures." - Maxwell R. FFS RTFA

2. chrislars

Posts: 77; Member since: Apr 11, 2013

Is that earth?

3. jibraihimi

Posts: 816; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

They should have used nokia pureview 808 for this, then we could have got better pics......

4. Sangeet

Posts: 232; Member since: Apr 21, 2012

Moral of the story "Let a phone be a phone, don't try to make it a satellite" :D

19. Igneel unregistered

Yeah.. I think it's irrelevant and a waste of money..

5. N-fanboy

Posts: 543; Member since: Jan 12, 2013

Android huh? Nasa, you better prepare yourself for some malwaaaaaaaare and some hacking ahahahahahahaha

6. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

They tried to use a Nokia, but it was to thick and heavy for the rocket to carry.

10. samystic

Posts: 242; Member since: Mar 25, 2012

making incomplete statements without model no. / name makes you a jealous person... please stay in the cave

13. sorcio46

Posts: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

Weight in space matters, ask to Nasa if grams are so important... they will tell you yes, cause more weight = more fuel needed to go in orbit = more money ;-)

16. chaoticrazor

Posts: 2347; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

your such a child this whole nokia weight crap is allowed on here, but anyone mention samsung and plastic and fanboys scream murder lmao if nasa cant handle a nokia phone on a rocket then we all have no hope of going to the moon again ......besides least nokia's could handle re-entry if it happened just dont get hit if they come flying down to earth


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Lmfao™ That was so funny, and true® +1 Tedkord

9. sorcio46

Posts: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

That's why Nasa used Android powered phones, cause they are perfect for every need, even in the space :D

11. chaoticrazor

Posts: 2347; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

please leave the blind worship at home, nothing is perfect especially for everything fanboy seen many of your comments so no need to reply your a straight up fanboy

12. sorcio46

Posts: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

WP and iOS devices nowadays have locked bootloader (so you cannot install your own system) so shut up fanboy, and learn some IT! Plus Android is the only one that CAN WORK on almost every Hardware. OWNED!

15. chaoticrazor

Posts: 2347; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

kid you owned no one, you just making yourself look stupid you seem to think rooting which lets face it is a way to get more out of a device due to it not been what you need out the box is what everyone does.....fact is the people who do root are in the minority. the general market rooting is nothing. next android can work on almost any hardware, all os can advance to work on faster more powerful hardware. the warhorse symbian proved this been able to pack a 41mp sensor with oversampling something no android device can replicate wp looks to be next for the major camera advancement, so all os's will have there pros and cons nothing is perfect for everything fanboy you should look at renting because you cant own anyone kid

24. taikucing unregistered

I wonder why NASA uses android phone. The experts in there know why they use it. Probably they know the power inside the android as well as they use linux for their supercomputers. OK, the camera is not good, probably they use the cheap phone. And if you want a good picture, why don't you send nokia phone into space? Can nokia phone fulfill NASA's need?

31. chaoticrazor

Posts: 2347; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

your acting like NASA are going to go full android for everything.....get a damn grip this was a test, they were trying something face it no one on here knows there real reasons. why do android fanboys have to glorify everything android then then defend other android fanboys in groups im not been nice to your kind this sites riddled with your lot and its truly pathetic ive not said anything bad about android just that it aint perfect you decide this is an insult fanboy and group with the above android loving troll you loose all creditability doing that and your put in the pile of fanboys that arent worth the effort anymore

18. sbw44

Posts: 433; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

Show me a android device that has a 41MP Camera running on an 1.3Ghz Arm 11 cpu! like the 808 PV! Show me a Android device that can take 1080p videos and still do 3times loseless zoom! Wait there is nothing!

22. taikucing unregistered

already hacked & modified to fill NASA's need hahahaha

8. mikewillz

Posts: 52; Member since: May 03, 2013

Why use older Android phones and not newer models?

23. Diazene

Posts: 129; Member since: May 01, 2013

an android, in space? a nokia would be much better, they can actually endure such harsh conditions​mia-to-extremes/​-920-space-mission-in-pictures/

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.