Technology

The Next High-Tech Satellite? Your Cell Phone

NASA's next generation of satellites use cell phones as remote-operated onboard computers. 

By Arnie CooperSep 18, 2013 9:00 AM
NASA

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

And you thought using your smartphone as a flashlight was a big deal. Consider NASA’s PhoneSat 1.0. mission: In a demo last spring, HTC Nexus One cell phones acted as onboard computers, powering a trio of 4-inch, 3-pound cube-shaped satellites with off-the-shelf components. 

The $3,500 units, which successfully transmitted digital images over six days while orbiting Earth, are part of the agency’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program. PhoneSat 2.0 launches this fall with a two-way S-band radio, which should give Earth-based engineers command abilities over the satellite.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month
Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
1 free articleSubscribe
Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.