NASA has launched a lot of things into space, such as humans and space ships of course, but one thing we certainly didn’t expect them to launch into space were cell phones.
Yes – mobile phones have been launched into space by NASA as part of a low-budget, experimental satellite program using off-the-held components. The three smartphone that were sent into space were all HTC Nexus One devices and are currently circling the Earth at an altitude of around 150 miles inside of 4-inch metal cubes, and are expected to burn up on re-entry within the next two weeks. The mission for reach “PhoneSat” is to snap photos of the Earth to send back radio messages on a regular basis in order to learn of they can be considered to supply the “brains” for future satellites.
Ultimately, NASA would like to build a satellite using off-the-shelf equipment to build a satellite that costs less than $10,000. Using a smartphone as the “brains” of a satellite could certainly cut down costs, although we’re sure NASA will conduct further research to see just how long something like this could last for as shooting multiple satellites into our atmosphere on a semi-regular basis probably isn’t very cost effective.