Geek Trivia

The First Smartphone-Powered Satellite Is Powered By The?

Nexus One
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The Smallest Fox Species In The World Is The?

Answer: Nexus One

On February 25, 2013, a tiny satellite, STRaND-1, was launched via rocket from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Satish Dhawan space center. The tiny satellite, formally known as Surrey Training, Research, and Nanosatellite Demonstration 1, was notable on two fronts: it was the first CubeSat (a miniature research satellite) launched by a small team from the United Kingdom and it was the first satellite set up to be controlled by a smartphone.

The team in question was composed of volunteers at the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) in England who constructed the micro satellite to demonstrate the feasibility of off-the-shelf smartphone hardware as the brain of a CubeSat. In the case of STRaND-1, the brain is a Google Nexus One phone, wired into the array of sensors and antennas aboard the tiny breadbox-sized package. So how has the experiment fared? The satellite remained operational for two years before unexpectedly going offline in March of 2013, only to begin responding and broadcasting again in July of 2013.

NASA has also gotten in on the action by launching a series of “PhoneSats” (smaller than CubeSats) that also used a Nexus One (and later a Nexus S) smartphone.

Image courtesy of Surrey Space Center.