NASA launches 3 Android phones into orbit: awesomeness ensues

NASA recently rocketed three HTC Nexus One smartphones into orbit and the stuff they’re sending back is pretty damn cool.

The phones were launched as part of what is called the PhotoSat Project. It’s run on the premise of combining low-cost with high-performance. It showcases “off-the-shelf, commercially available tech.” The use of non-traditional NASA hardware shows us how powerful our everyday-devices really are. That’s something we often take for granted.

As shown in the picture above, these Nexi are currently orbiting the Earth, taking snapshots and sending off radio transmissions. Since the launch, a bunch of radio broadcasting companies have said that they are picking up signals of the smartphones. According to LA Times the smartphones have been modified. For example they all have larger lithium batteries and one also has solar cells.

The current novelty of smartphones brings about extremely competitive hardware. This opens up cheaply available and powerful computer technology to people like you and me. Although the newest Samsung S4’s price is a bit steep for a cash-strapped student for instance, it’s still less expensive than the hardware used by NASA in order to power its satellites. Producing satellites with a budget under US$1 000. The irony, as LA Times pointed out, is that when the project started a few years ago the Nexus One was probably one of the best on the market, and now they don’t even get produced anymore.

Two years ago NASA rocketed up a couple of iPhone 4s to the International Space Station in a test part of Odyssey Space Research. This initiative between Apple and the International Space Station was part of an experiment called NanoRacks Smartphone that looks at how smartphones operate in space.

If you want to get motion-sickness check out this amateur video of a Nexus One being launched a few years back. This was part of a project by the Maverick Civilian Space



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