While other smartphones can only dream of traveling where no man has gone before, Google’s Nexus One can finally claim the distinction of being the first mobile phone to launched into low earth orbit.
Developed by Surrey Satellite Technology and the University of Surrey’s Surrey Space Center, the STRaND-1 is a nanosatellite flying a Google Nexus One smartphone that will utilize the Android operating system to perform certain in-orbit functions during the mission’s first phase.
Commissioning of STRaND-1 is expected to take approximately two weeks, and the switch over to the Nexus One and its apps will be delayed until final onboard systems testing has been completed for the satellite.
Applications being utilized by STRaND-1 were developed by award winners of a Facebook competition held last year. The iTesa, STRAND Data, 360, and Scream in Space applications will be used to capture and process information from the onboard smartphone.
The 360 app will allow individuals back on Earth to request snapshots of the planet taken by the Nexus One’s built in camera. Images will be displayed on a map on the developers website at: http://www.360app.co.uk/
For hobbyists looking to get a piece of home-cooked tech into space, this mission could prove to be a very knowledgeable endeavor. With the development of low-cost CubeSat platforms and this mission’s tangential goal of testing the viability of commercial, off-the-shelf tech in space, it’s very possible we all could be launching our own hobbyist satellites into orbit the near future.
Chase Williams is a serial entrepreneur, professional procrastinator, dreamer, explorer and risk taker. He's been weightless aboard a NASA C9-B aircraft and his head hasn't quite come back down from the upper-atmosphere. To keep up with his low-oxygen chatter, follow him on Twitter @ChaseHWill