Video: Google Nexus One orbits the Earth inside phonesat

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Phonesat STRaND-1 -  a nanosatellite carrying a Google Nexus One smartphone - was launched into orbit from India earlier this week. 

The satellite - which measures 10 cm x 30 cm and weighs 4.3 kg - is currently in a sun-synchronous orbit 785 km above the surface of the planet. STRaND-1 was built by engineers at Surrey Space Center and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited in an effort to test commercial off-the-shelf technologies in space.

"STRaND-1 from SSC and SSTL is an example of the real synergy of academic research linked to commercial development and exploitation that is the hallmark of Surrey," explained Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, SSC Director and also Executive Chairman of SSTL.

"This mission is a fantastic achievement and a great tribute to the hard work of the engineers involved. The UK's first nanosatellite SNAP-1, also built by SSC & SSTL and launched in 2000, was the world's most advanced nanosatellite at the time – STRaND-1 continues that story with the latest technologies available to us in 2013."

During the first phase of its mission, the phonesat will be controlled by an altitude control system and an embedded high-speed Linux-based CubeSat computer. Many of the satellite's in-orbit operations will subsequently be switched to the Google Nexus One smartphone running Android during the second phase of the mission.

STRaND-1 is fitted with a special propulsion system designed to deorbit the satellite at the end of its useful life.