'PhoneSat' made from Samsung Nexus S calls Earth from space

NASA’s newest tiny, cheap “PhoneSat”, a super cheap satellite made out of off-the-shelf Android hardware, has dialed home from orbit, meaning all systems are go. The 2.2-pound satellite was built using a heavily-modified Samsung Nexus S and uses a two-way S-band radio so that engineers can command it remotely. It’s part of NASA’s effort to explore cheaper satellite technology.

PhoneSat 2.4, NASA’s next generation smartphone cubesat has phoned home. The tiny spacecraft that uses an off-the-shelf smartphone for a brain has completed checkout and sent back data confirming all systems are “go” for the spry spacefarer. PhoneSat 2.4, a cube approximately four inches square, weighs only about 2.2 pounds, and was developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. It is first of the PhoneSat family to use a two-way S-band radio, allowing engineers to command the satellite from Earth. It is confirming the viability of using smartphones and other commercially available electronics in satellites destined for low-Earth orbit.

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