GUILDFORD, UK – A British-built satellite that will be fully controlled by a Google Nexus smartphone is ready for launch to outer space.
The Google Nexus One is a midrange smartphone by today’s standards. Released three years ago, the Nexus One features a 3.7-inch SuperLCD display, 1 GHz single-core Qualcomm processor, and a 5MP rear camera. But the device, not physically modified, is capable of controlling a satellite that will stay in orbit for six months.
The Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) have built STRanD-1, short for Surrey Training, Research, and Nanosatellite Demonstrator, which will be launched to space to perform various tests. Mounted against one of the panels and connected via USB is a fully functional Nexus One, that will run a number of apps to collect scientific data and take photos of the earth. The spacecraft will head to space from India on February 25.
The scientists explain that they chose the Nexus One because it runs on the user-friendly Android operating system and was cheap and easily available when the project kicked off. The Nexus One was not physically modified, although scientists put their own software.