Thursday, August 30, 2012

Android Smartphones Nano, Satellites in Space, NASA

We all have been using smartphones for quite a while now using mobile OS such as iOS, Android, RIM etc.

And they have eased as well influenced our lives in many different ways but the one that has dominated the smartphone market is Android. Google has certainly provided the world with something amazing and now they are taking this amazing operating system to the next level. Android works pretty well on Earth but how will it work in outer space.

To answer that question, NASA is conducting some experiments; the team at NASAs Ames Research center in Moffet Field in California has recently been reported to conducting experiments regarding miniature satellites based on Nexus One Android handset.

Called the PhoneSat by NASA, the project is basically part of a larger program called the Small Spacecraft Technology Program. Basic idea behind this program is to transform small consumer electronics into nano satellites and send them into space. We still do not have any word as to when the PhoneSat project will be launched but we are told that by the end of the year three PhoneSat will be blasted off into the space.

According to the details provided by NASAs Space Technology Program, they have already created two prototypes and will be launched at different dates. The first one is called PhoneStat 1.0 which is more of a mini-model and provides little functionality.

It will work as a test dummy and if demonstrated the capabilities of sending back operational health and image data from space, it would certainly open doors for new possibilities.

The satellite is made up of almost four primary parts, two of which are the external radio and the external batteries and the third one is Nexus One itself. The fourth and the most important one is the watchdog circuit which will scrutinize the whole system and may reboot Nexus where necessary.

All of this will then be translated into a small shell, not bigger than a coffee cup, and to ensure the smooth working of the satellite three such cup are added with each weighing around 4 pounds.

Then there is PhoneSat 2.0 which is much advanced satellite, it performs same functions but its much advanced.

Instead of Nexus One, there is Samsung Nexus S in it along with two-way S band radio along with a GPS receiver and solar arrays. PhoneSat 2.0 will be able to dig further into the space with the help of solar array whereas radio will help command the satellite from Earth.

It is also integrated with magnetorquer coils, simply put they are electromagnets which help interact with Earths magnetic field and also with reaction wheels to steer the unit in outer space.

NASA has been pushing Nexus One to its limit just to ensure how it will perform. Back in July 2012 NASA launched 2 Nexus Ones into space, one set crashed landed while other survived, they have also put PhoneSat 1.0 to thermal vacuum test and vibration and shock tables test and it came out successful in all the tests.

Via: Android Smartphones Nano, Satellites in Space, NASA


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