Monday, April 22, 2013

NASA Launches Lowest Cost PhoneSats

NASA has successfully launched a trio of "PhoneSats" to determine whether a consumer-grade smartphone can be used as the main flight avionics of a capable, yet very inexpensive, satellite.

NASA's PhoneSats are currently in orbit and successfully transmitting information about their health to multiple ground stations on Earth.  The satellites, which are expected to remain in orbit for as long as two weeks, are being monitored by a team at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

NASA said the three PhoneSat satellites are emitting packets over the amateur radio band at 437.425 MHz using AFSK (1200 bps) modulation, AX.25 packet coding and with vertical linear polarization.

"Smartphones offer a wealth of potential capabilities for flying small, low-cost, powerful satellites for atmospheric or Earth science, communications, or other space-born applications. They also may open space to a whole new generation of commercial, academic and citizen-space users," said Michael Gazarik, NASA's associate administrator for space technology in Washington.