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Nanosatellite controlled by Google's Nexus One will blast into space on February 25th

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Strand-1 satellite
Strand-1 satellite

For the first time ever, a smartphone will take full control of an operational satellite deep in outer space. At least, that's assuming everything goes according to plan during the mission of Strand-1, which will be carrying Google's beloved Nexus One 487 miles above the earth's surface on the back of a rocket. Speaking to BBC News, lead engineer Dr. Chris Bridges, said the Nexus One's hardware hasn't been modified or altered in any way. "We've essentially got a regular phone, connected up the USB to it and put it in the satellite," he said.

The phone will be running custom software, of course, including a student-designed app that will yet again test whether screams can be heard from the confines of space. (Scientists are already pretty confident in their answer on that one.) To be clear, the Nexus won't be controlling a critical $40 million satellite here: the British-built Strand-1 is a mere 30 centimeters. But the experiment will help experts better understand possible scenarios where consumer gadgets may be able to augment future space projects. NASA has been conducting similar research of its own.