NASA's Smart Phones Enters Space

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, 28 December 2011, 13:11 Hrs
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Bangalore: A new Android based Nexus S smart phone from Samsung which assists astronauts in International Space Station (ISS) was successfully tested by NASA in space. These smart phones from Samsung are the first of its kind which are approved by NASA for its research programs and to fly in the space shuttle. It has also planned to introduce Robots which will simulate external free flight excursions.

The nexus handsets are designed ergonomically to support, propel, compute, to navigate software for SPHERES which is a free flying satellite. This phone uses the open source android platform and comes attached with 1GHZ processor, Digital cameras, accelerometer, Bluetooth, light sensors, Wi-Fi networking with 16 GB internal memory.

NASA has disabled the GSM communication chip to avoid interference with the gadgets on board .The battery pack has been changed to AA batteries but the handset remains identical.

Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) is the free flying satellite which was first designed by UG students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the shape of volley ball and it is in the space since 2006. SPHERES can be made more intelligent by connecting it through smart phones.  It has a built in camera which captures the real time images and it transfers through Wi-Fi connection. Astronauts had conducted more than a quarter research using SPHERES and now it is planned to control the SPHERES in real time from ground control stations and Vice versa. The smart phone enabled SPHERES is managed by the Intelligent Robotics Group at Ames.

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