Android Smartphone to Launch into Orbit with GPS, Wi-Fi and Camera

AndroidinSpace.jpgThere are many influences on Android smartphones, including Verizon licensing the term "Droid" from Lucas Films for its stellar line of Droid smartphones.  Now an Android smartphone is following the movie Droids by going into orbit.  Space researchers at the University of Surrey and Surrey Satellite
Technology Limited (SSTL) have developed STRaND-1, a satellite
containing an Android smartphone that will be launched into orbit around
the Earth later this year.

"If a
smartphone can be proved to work in space, it opens up lots of new
technologies to a multitude of people and companies for space who
usually can't afford it.  It's a real game-changer for the industry," lead researcher Dr
Chris Bridges said.

The computer on the satellite will test components, such as sensors, video cameras, GPS systems, and Wi-Fi radios to see what works and doesn't work in space.  After testing the Android smartphone, it will be used to operate parts of the satellite.  Images and messages from the Android smartphone will be sent back to Earth.  Because Android is open source, it enables researchers to write custom software for space missions.

We're wondering if they will experience dropped calls in space.  We're also wondering if it will be running Android 2.2 Froyo or Andriod 2.3 Gingerbread.

SSTL's Shaun Kenyon, Project Manager for STRaND-1, said he was delighted with
how the programme was going: "When we came to the Surrey Space Centre
with the idea of flying a smartphone they had the expertise and
innovative satellite subsystems to complete our design.  The operation of
the smartphone is really just the icing on the cake to what is already
an incredibly advanced satellite."

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is the world's leading small
satellite company, delivering operational space missions for a range of
applications, including Earth observation, science and communications. 
The Company designs, manufactures and operates high performance
satellites and ground systems for a fraction of the price normally
associated with space missions, with over 300 staff working on turnkey
satellite platforms, space-proven satellite subsystems, and optical

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