Google Nexus One ready to power Strand-1 satellite in orbit


You have probably heard references to the fact that today’s smartphones contain way more computing power and capability than what was available to the world’s space programs back during the heyday of the space race. That saying is close to getting a test when the Surrey Space Centre and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) launch the British-built Strand-1 satellite into space later this month. At the heart of Strand-1 lies a Google Nexus One smartphone which the project team hopes will be able to take over full control of the satellite at some point during the six-month mission.

Dr. Chris Bridges, a lead engineer for the project, says the Nexus One has not been physically modified in any way. It is a regular, consumer electronics grade device loaded with the project’s software and then plugged in via a USB port. For the first portion of the mission, the device will be relegated to taking pictures of the earth and moon, similar to past Android device space adventures. Once various tests are completed, the project team plans to turn over control of the satellite to the Nexus One, a first for a smartphone. Along with running the satellite, the Nexus One will also run various apps, like a Scream in Space app developed by Cambridge University students in response to a call for apps.

Doug Liddle, the SSTL head of science, does not predict the use of everyday phones as the core of a multi-million dollar satellite. However, he does think components of the hardware can be effectively used during space flight. He also thinks the open source philosophy used for development of Android apps might be something that could be incorporated into the space program.

source: BBC News

About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a Mazda MX-5 Miata, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three grown kids and a golden retriever.