NASA's newest tiny, cheap "PhoneSat" — a super cheap satellite made out of off-the-shelf Android hardware — has dialed home from orbit, meaning all systems are go.
The 2.2-pound satellite was built using a heavily-modified Samsung Nexus S and uses a two-way S-band radio so that engineers can command it remotely. It's part of NASA's effort to explore cheaper satellite technology.
It cost the space agency just $7,500
"The smartphone provides many of the functions the satellite needs to operate, such as computation, memory, ready-made interfaces for communications, navigation and power, all assembled in a rugged package before launch," NASA says in a press release.
This iteration of the mini-spacecraft, the PhoneSat 2.4, was launched two weeks ago and cost the space agency just $7,500. It will test a system for changing the satellite's orientation in space as well as measure how well off-the-shelf components perform over the course of a year.
The first batch of PhoneSats launched in April and the next version is scheduled for February.