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NASA’s smartphone satellites beam images of Earth

US: NASA launched three Android smartphones “PhoneSats” into space on April 21, 2013 to experiment if they could be used to transmit “image-data packets” back to earth. These blurry images were the results of NASA’s PhoneSats project.

The NASA project dubbed “PhoneSat mission” sent a trio of satellite phones named Alexander, Graham and Bell into orbit aboard the Antares rocket that was launched from NASA’s Wallops Island in Virginia, to see if an ordinary smartphones could be used as a flight avionics for a satellite.

Using their smartphone cameras the PhoneSat trio sent the image-data packets to the PhoneSat Team on earth who reconstructed high-resolution photographs from the minute data packets.

“During the short time the spacecraft were in orbit, we were able to demonstrate the smartphones” ability to act as satellites in the space environment,” said Bruce Yost, the program manager for NASA”s Small Satellite Technology Program. “The PhoneSat project also provided an opportunity for NASA to collaborate with its space enthusiasts. Amateur radio operators from every continent but Antarctica contributed in capturing the data packets we needed to piece together the smartphones” image of Earth from space.”

Source: NASA & G News