It’s been a while since we talked about NASA and its plans to put three Android smartphones into orbit. NASA first announced its plans for the PhoneSats in the summer of 2012. The smartphones at the heart of the small and inexpensive satellites are the HTC Nexus One. If you’re wondering why NASA chose such old smartphones to use in the project, it has been in the works since those devices were new.
NASA put the satellites containing the smartphones into orbit around the Earth at an altitude of to 150 miles on Sunday. The purpose of the PhoneSats is to take photographs of the Earth from space. NASA certainly has better equipped satellites in orbit for that task already. The real purpose of the satellites is to gather the technology and experience needed to create cheap satellites costing under $10,000.
NASA hopes to learn with its PhoneSat program if smartphone could be used as the brain for a new generation of low-cost satellites. As cool as it is for Android devices to be the heart of these satellites, they weren’t the first smartphones to make their way into space. NASA put a pair of iPhone 4s on the ISS in 2011.
Once the satellites complete their mission, they will plunge back in the atmosphere of Earth. They will completely burn up during that reentry so you have no chance of picking up a slightly used Android smartphone that’s all been in space on eBay.[via Huffington Post]