Android smartphones will control NASA satellites

The Android ecosystem is growing rapidly beyond smartphones and tablets - last week we saw a Nikon camera on Android , and Panasonic, for example, uses Android and NFC apps to control smart appliances. But NASA has gone the farthest and plans to push the operating system beyond our planet - a new space agency program called PhoneSat plans to use Android to control miniature satellites.


PhoneSat 1.0 in a high-altitude balloon

As part of the program, researchers from the Ames Research Center are exploring the possibility of creating small (these are 10x10x10 cm cubes) cheap (each costs only about $ 3,500) satellites from available components, in particular they will be controlled using Nexus smartphones. Kilogram satellites will be reusable and with their help it will be possible to build a cheap but powerful surveillance network.

Two models have already been created - PhoneSat 1.0 and PhoneSat 2.0. Model 1.0 runs on the Nexus One, and 2.0 has already been upgraded to the Nexus S, in addition, the older model will have solar panels and a primitive orientation system. They plan to launch into orbit this year, two satellites 1.0 and one 2.0 will be launched into space. The purpose of the first launch is to understand how smartphones will work in space conditions.

NASA’s plans for Android are quite large - they plan to use green robots in the lunar mission and, as mentioned above, to deploy a cheap Earth observation system.