NASA’s PhoneSat 2.4 with Nexus S smartphone onboard successfully sends data back to Earth


After sending three Nexus One smartphones to space in April as a part of an experiment, NASA sent its PhoneSat 2.4 satellite in November with the Samsung Nexus S onboard. The US space agency has now announced that PhoneSat 2.4 has completed its checkout in orbit and sent back data confirming that “all systems are a go.”

NASA’s PhoneSat program essentially aims at building mini-satellites using parts available commercially and make them work in the orbit around Earth. The idea is to lower costs of these mini satellites down to $7,500 making it affordable for research and educational purposes.

As mentioned above, the PhoneSat 2.4 has a Nexus S working as its brain, which does a number of functions including complex computations, and has in-built memory, UI for communications and navigation capabilities. The package is enclosed in a 4-inch metal square cube and weighs in at 0.99 kilograms. The mini-satellite supports two-way radio transmissions, and was able to send data to the communication hub set up at the Santa Clara University in California.

NASA plans on sending PhoneSat 2.5 in February 2014 onboard the commercial SpaceX rocket, which too will have the same capabilities as the 2.4 variant, albeit with a better orientation system.