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Satellite for less than $1,000

NASA has launched three smartphones into orbit as part of a low-budget, experimental satellite program to prove that a satellite can be built for less than $1,000 using off the shelf equipment.

  Author: podtalje | Source: NASA | 24th April 2013  

NASA has launched three Google-HTC Nexus One smartphones running Android into space to see what they can do. Phonesat project aims to demonstrate the lowest cost and easiest to build satellites ever flown in space. The project's main goal is to prove that a satellite can be built for less than $1,000 using off the shelf equipment.

NASA picked Google Nexus One handsets, because that was the highest specification smartphone available when the project was in the planning stages. Smartphones are encased in 4-inch metal cubes and are circling Earth at an altitude of about 150 miles and will burn up on re-entry within the next two weeks.

PhoneSat 1.0 satellite project has a basic mission goal–to stay alive in space for a short period of time, sending back digital imagery of Earth and space via its camera, while also sending back information about the satellite's health.

PhoneSat 2.0 mission is also already planned. Satelites will be equipped with a newer Nexus S smartphone to provide a faster core processor, avionics and gyroscopes. It will also supplement the capabilities of PhoneSat 1.0 by adding a two-way S-band radio that will allow NASA engineers to control it remotely, solar panels to enable longer-duration missions, and a GPS receiver and magnetorquer coils – electro-magnets that interact with Earth's magnetic field - to actively control the satellite's orientation in space. 


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Spaceman, 24th Apr 2013, 5:52 AM
Now that's building high-tech on a budget, great article.
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XMaster, 24th Apr 2013, 6:52 AM
What we now need is instructions how to do it ourselves.There is unfortunately another problem. How to send it into space for less than $1,000.
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