NASA’s Latest Space Technology Small Satellite Phones Home
WASHINGTON: NASA’s next generation smartphone cubesat has phoned home. The tiny spacecraft that uses an off-the-shelf smartphone for a brain has completed checkout and sent back data confirming all systems are “go” for the spry spacefarer.
PhoneSat 2.4, approximately four inches square, weights only about 2.2 pounds, and developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. It is first to use a two-way S-band radio, allowing engineers and scientist to command the satellite from Earth.
PhoneSat 2.4 also will test a system which control the orientation of the cubesat in space. Like the earlier PhoneSat 1, PhoneSat 2.4 uses a Nexus S smartphone made by Samsung Electronics running Google‘s Android operating system. Santa Clara University in California is providing the ground station for this mission.
The smartphone provides many functions the satellite needs to operate, such as computation, ,ready-made interfaces for communications, memory, navigation and power. Data from the satellite’s subsystems, including the smartphones, the power system and orientation control systems are being down linked over amateur radio at a frequency of 437.425MHz.