NASA’s newest tiny, cheap “PhoneSat”, a super cheap satellite made out of off-the-shelf Android hardware, has dialed home from orbit, leading to the project success. The 2.2-pound satellite was built using a heavily-modified Samsung Nexus S and uses a two-way S-band radio so that engineers can command it remotely. It’s part of NASA’s effort to explore cheaper satellite technology.
“The smartphone provides many of the functions the satellite needs to operate, such as computation, memory, ready-made interfaces for communications, navigation and power, all assembled in a rugged package before launch,” NASA stated in a press release.
The PhoneSat 2.4 was launched two weeks ago and cost the space agency just $7,500. It will test a system for changing the satellite’s orientation in space as well as measure how well off-the-shelf components perform over the course of a year. And this is not all, the first batch of PhoneSats launched in April and the next version is scheduled for February.