On Sunday, April 21 NASA launched three HTC Nexus One
smartphones into space with Orbital Science Corp.’s Antare rocket from the
Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.
As part of the Small Spacecraft Technology Program, three Android-powered
HTC Nexus One devices are being orbited into space to determine whether or not consumer-grade smartphones can be
used as main flight avionics of a capable satellite.
Transmissions from the
trio of ‘PhoneSats,’ which have been received at multiple locations on Earth,
have indicated that they are operating normally thus far. Should these
PhoneSats demonstrate the capability of being able to work as satellites in
space, they could potentially allow engineers to build the lowest cost
satellites ever launched into orbit.
Housed in a standard cubesat structure
these PhoneSats are currently orbiting Earth, taking photos and sending radio
The three devices are to remain in orbit for up to two weeks and will burn up as they re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.