PSLV to Launch World’s First Smartphone – Controlled Nano Satellite


PSLV to Launch World’s First Smartphone – Controlled Nano Satellite

The world’s first smartphone – controlled Nano satellite with a high definition camera will be launched into the orbit around the Earth on Monday by the Indian satellite Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle ( PSLV ).

Called STRaND – 1 ( Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator ), the British-built spacecraft will be controlled by a Google Nexus One mobile device running on the Android operating system. The satellite will be part of a six – month mission in the orbit.

The mobile phone in STRaND will run a number of applications to collect scientific data and some for just fun and outreach. Once launched, the ground station at the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey will take over to monitor the satellite.

The camera will take Earth’s pictures. In fact, through an app, the public can request their own unique satellite image of Earth through a Web site, where images can be seen on a map showing where they have been acquired.

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The phone itself costs less than £350. The STRaND-1 satellite as a whole will cost slightly more than a high-end family car, according to information available from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, which developed the satellite. The company is a leading developer of small satellites.

The PSLV C – 20 will carry STRaND-1, which weighs 3.5 kg, and three other satellites on the 785-km sun-synchronous orbit from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The other satellites are BRITE and UniBRITE ( both Austria ) and AAUSAT ( Denmark ).

President Pranab Mukherjee is expected to witness the launch.

A number of groups have put smart phones onto high altitude helium-filled weather balloons.

These are experiments in themselves that fly very high in the atmosphere. NASA Ames has even put them on top of sub-orbital rockets.

Smartphones have also floated inside the shuttle and international space station, but they were operated by humans, in air, and so these were not subjected to the harshness of space, the company said.

Once all the satellite’s own operating systems have been checked out, it will transfer some key system functions over to the phone’s components to take control and operate the satellite in orbit.

The onboard computer will monitor the temperature of the phone battery.

If it sees it is getting too cold, it will trigger a processor intensive program to run on the mobile phone, which will warm it up, the company said.