Google’s Nexus S launches with space shuttle

July 11, 2011

On Friday the space shuttle Atlantis launched into space for the final mission of NASA’s veteran fleet of spacecraft - and took with it a Samsung Nexus S into space.

This makes it the first phone to have been taken up in a spacecraft. (At least there are over 100,000 apps available to entertain the astronauts).

HTC’s Nexus One was used by NASA for testing for the same reason in August 2010, where two Nexus One’s were strapped to a rocket and launched 28,000 feet into the sky, to test the durability of the phones.

A video of this was shot continuously on both phones, however only one survived the flight.

A snippet of the 2.5 hour video has been uploaded here.

This testing had been done to see if a phone has the potential to replace devices currently used when building a satellite, which would significantly decrease the cost of the process.

This phone was the first ever to be approved to do this, and Samsung’s latest Nexus S has now been trialled for the task.

This time, the phone is being used to test a new breed of small, free flying satellites, known of SPHERES, meaning Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites.

The addition of a Nexus S to the satellites allows the SPHERES to have a built-in camera to take pictures and video, sensors to help conduct inspections, a powerful computing unit to make calculations, and a Wi-Fi connection that can be used to transfer data in real-time to the space station and mission control.

The Nexus S marks a point in history for a phone, as being the first ever phone to be certified by NASA to partake in space shuttle missions and to be cleared for use on the International Space Station.

“Samsung is proud to have the Nexus S chosen to be aboard NASA’s final space shuttle launch, an event that is historical,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile.

“The research that is being conducted with SPHERES using the Nexus S will help monitor and communicate from the International Space Station.”

Space shuttle Atlantis will embark on a 12 day mission, delivering supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station.


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