Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: NASA launches PhoneSat

April 23, 2013

NASA launches PhoneSat

PhoneSat is a nanosatellite, categorizing the mass as between one and ten kilograms. Additionally, PhoneSat is a 1U CubeSat, having a volume of around one liter. The PhoneSat Project strives to decrease the cost of satellites while not sacrificing performance. In an effort to achieve this goal, the project is based around Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) electronics to provide functionality for as many parts as possible while still creating a reliable satellite.

Three smartphones like this, destined to become low-cost satellites rode to space Sunday aboard the maiden flight of Orbital Science Corp.'s Antares rocket from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.
+NASA engineers kept the total cost of the components for the three prototype satellites in the PhoneSat project between $3,500 and $7,000 by using primarily commercial hardware and keeping the design and mission objectives to a minimum. The hardware for this mission is the Google HTC +Nexus One smartphone running the +Android operating system.
+NASA added items a satellite needs that the smartphones do not have : a larger, external lithium-ion battery bank and a more powerful radio for messages it sends from space.