STRaND-1 smartphone satellite launched into orbit for the first time
Smartphones have come to create more possibilities than ever before. Now, it spells promise to function as a satellite as well. The STRaND-1 comes in as the first smartphone satellite to have launched into the orbit. It was launched atop an Indian Space Research Organisation PSLV rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. It forms a part of the STRaND-1 spacecraft, which was launched to trace a 785-kilometer Sun-synchronous orbit. It’s main function is to carry out a series of technology demonstrations in alliance with the Surrey Space Centre’s ground station at the University of Surrey in the UK. It is basically a 10 cm x 30 cm (3.9 in x 11.8 in) 3U CubeSat that weighs around 4.3 kg (9.4 lb). In addition to a Google Nexus One smartphone it comprises of a Linux-based high-speed processor, attitude and orbit control systems, eight pulsed plasma thrusters, and a water-alcohol propulsion system.
It does have its own gamut of apps like any other smartphone that enable it to do the things it does. Among the apps is iTesa, which records the magnitude of the magnetic field around the phone while in orbit and will be used as proof of principle for future studies of magnetic oscillations in the upper atmosphere. Then, there’s the STRAND Data app that displays satellite telemetry on the display. The 360 app uses images from the smartphone’s camera to determine the position of the unit, in space. There’s even a cool bit to it. The Scream in Space app plays the famous tagline, “In space, no one can hear you scream.” The commissioning process will commence over the next two weeks, initiated by the Surrey Space Centre’s ground station at the University of Surrey.