The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is using smartphones as microprocessors for satellites.
The space agency recently launched three nanosatellites, known as PhoneSats, into space aboard a rocket, and they will transmit signals to ground stations on Earth for two weeks.
The two PhoneSat 1.0 satellites were built using the HTC Nexus One smartphone, and the PhoneSat 2.0, which has improved software and more sensors, is powered by the Samsung Nexus S. Smartphones have more than 100 times the computing power of satellites, including fast processors, multiple sensors, high-resolution cameras, global positioning system receivers, and radios. A few components were added that are not found in smartphones, such as a larger, external lithium-ion battery and a more powerful radio.
Each satellite measures only four inches on each side and weighs less than four pounds, and cost $3,500 to build, while the launch cost a little as $50,000. A typical satellite can cost as much as $500 million.
NASA wants to use smartphones to make satellites more intelligent.
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