Mobile phone ready for blast-off to space

Darren Allan

January 24, 2011

A team of British engineers are all set to send a mobile phone into space.

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited want to see if the mobile will function up there, and if so, plan to use it to control a satellite to take pictures of the Earth, the BBC reports.

Previously, mobiles have been sent up to high altitudes using balloons, but it’s claimed this is the first time a handset has been sent into orbit above our planet.

The phone in question will apparently be a standard sort of handset running Android, the flavour of the moment OS. Because Android is open source, the team can adapt it to perform the relevant functions for the mission.

Project Manager Shaun Kenyon told the Beeb: “We’re not taking it apart; we’re not gutting it; we’re not taking out the printed circuit boards and re-soldering them into our satellite – we’re flying it as is.”

There’s a main computer running the mission, of course, so the mobile is just a back-up, and something they’ll try to use.

If a smartphone can be successfully used up in space, however, it could open up a multitude of options for missions to space done on the cheap (or at least cheaper).


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