NASA’s “Phone Sat” network of Android based satellites released the first pictures of Earth taken from orbit. The network consists of three satellites which are basically Android running Nexus One smartphones. After this first success, NASA decided to extend the program.
The “Phone Sat” program was started last month when NASA managed to launch its first micro satellites into a geostationary orbit. The initial three micro satellites are actually modified Android smartphones, two of them are based on HTC Nexus One and the other on a Nexus S. Next time when you’re having a dispute with an “Apple head”, just let him know that NASA uses Android based satellites, that should settle the argument for good.
Anyway, these relatively “ancient” smartphones were chosen by NASA’s scientist due to the fact that the “Phone Sat” program was launched back in 2009, as you can imagine planning and executing a space mission takes years.The micro-satellite program was praised as a big success by NASA after these little guys were successfully launched into orbit, took the pictures, transmitted them back home and soon after that they re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, being disintegrated.The pictures look blurry due to the interference, it’s not a quality issue, as they were transmitted in UHF radio and they were taken with the smartphone’s built in cameras.
The idea behind NASA”s experiment was to demonstrate the possibility of building and launching dirt-cheap yet viable satellites using the available smartphones on the market as the brains (read smart controlers). It makes perfect sense if you think about it, as the smartphones are becoming “smarter” by the minute, being light years away from what NASA used in their space programs in the 60’s. Also, they have built in radio connectivity and GPS, which can be used for guiding them. Not to mention the price tag of the operation, the Nexus satellite costs a few hundred dollars, thousands of times cheaper than a custom made satellite.
Paraphrasing the classics : one small step for NASA, one giant step for Android.
Source : Android Authority