Smartphones in Space: Users Rely on Their Phones for Much More Than Just Simple Calls
By Space Coast Daily // September 10, 2018
There are not many of today who do not own a smartphone and so popular are the portable computers we can carry in our pockets that they are now the essential piece of kit to use for daily tasks, keeping in touch with family and friends and for playing at bingo sites like Sanky Bingo.
In fact, with increasing numbers of smartphone users relying on their phones for so much more than just simple phone calls to lose on or have it stolen is tantamount to a minor disaster.
But who of us would think that the smartphone would find itself in space acting as a satellite?
Now we all know that satellites are not particularly small or inexpensive and if you need an idea of how much they cost the Solar Dynamics Observatory launched by NASA back in 2010 weighs in around 7,000 pounds and cost $850 million to build and then see it in orbit.
But like anything else as technology advances so things tend to change and that includes things becoming smaller and more affordable. The FASTSAT (fast, affordable, science and technology satellite) weighs in at just a mere 400 pounds and cost $10 million.
It was when Pete Klupar who is the director of engineering at Ames Research Centre was wondering why his government issues smartphone which had a faster processor, as well as better processors, cost so little in comparison. Pete was fond of pulling his smartphone out and looking at it during speeches and do his wondering then after which he would slip it back into his pocket.
All of Pete’s musings were taken to heart by an Ames researcher called Chris Boshuizen and his colleague Will Marshall interjected during a talk given by Klupar as he once again began to muse about the costs of satellites.
Telling Pete not to put the phone back in his pocket the duo told him that they were going to make it into a satellite and by September 2013 a NASA team which was originally led by Boshuizen and Marshall launched successfully its first PhoneSats into low-Earth orbit with a cost of $7,000 each.
These three mini orbiters were named Alexander, Graham and Bell and they were able to take pictures from space beaming the data right back to Earth proving once and for all that a smartphone built for the general public could be used to power satellite in space.
CLICK HERE FOR NASA AND SPACE NEWS